Talk about your objectives. If you are in a relationship or saving with friends, be open about what your plans are about ways to save money, explain you might need support, set joint goals or targets and plans to work together or at least get support for what you are wanting to achieve. The more support you have the better and many couples comment that money issues bind them or can break them apart and if you get stuck, play ‘How Game Are You- Couples Money Edition’ to get the conversation flowing.
Even if you are just living at home still, talk to your family about your goals, see if they have any tips, jobs you can do, support they can give or perhaps leeway on items in exchange for others.
General Savings Tips on Ways to Save Money
- Use the 24-hour rule. This rule helps avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items on impulse. Think over each nonessential purchase for at least 24 hours. This is particularly easy to do while shopping online, because you can add items to your cart or wish list and come back to them a day later.
- Establish your budget. Are you looking for an easy way to begin? On the rest day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack the receipts into categories like restaurants, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month you will be able to clearly see where your money is going.
- Aim for short-term savings goals. Make a goal such as setting aside $20 a week or month, rather than a longer-term savings goal. People save more successfully when they keep short-term goals in sight.
- Budget with cash and envelopes. If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budget system where you use a set amount of cash for most spending. And once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
- Save automatically. Setting up automatic savings is the easiest and most effective way to save, and it puts extra cash out of sight and out of mind. Have your employer deduct a certain amount from your paycheck and transfer it to a retirement or savings account every pay period. Ask your HR representative for more details about how to set this up. Or every month, have your bank or credit union transfer amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account.
- Calculate purchases by hours worked instead of cost. Take the amount of the item you’re considering purchasing and divide it by your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself if those shoes are worth the long hours of work.
- Start saving for your retirement as early as possible. Few people get rich through their wages alone. It’s the miracle of compound interest, or earning interest on your interest over many years, that builds wealth. Because time is on their side, the youngest workers are in the best position to save for retirement.
Debt Savings Tips
- Start with a goal of reducing your credit card debt by just $1,000. That $1,000 debt reduction will probably save you $150- 200 a year in interest, and much more if you’re paying penalty rates of 20-30 percent.
- Pay off credit cards in full each month. The miles and cash-back are only valuable if you’re not falling into debt or paying interest.
- Pay all your bills on auto-pay. This ensures they are paid on time, in full to avoid late charges. As a bonus, some loan providers offer a small interest rate deduction if you enroll in auto-pay.
- Get free debt counseling. The most widely available help managing your debt is with a Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) counselor. CCCS’ network of non-profit counselors can work with you confidentially and judgement-free to help you develop a budget, figure out your options, and negotiate with creditors to repay your debts. Best of all, the 45-90minute counseling sessions are free of charge and come with no obligations.
Food Savings Tips
- Shop by unit price. Many grocery stores list a cost per unit of each item, such as the price per ounce or pound. Use these stickers when comparison shopping for the same product, just in a different size.
- Stick to water. It’s standard in the restaurant industry to mark up the cost of alcohol by three to ve times. So, an easy way to cut down on your restaurant spending without changing your habits too drastically is to skip the beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
- Brown bag your lunch. The reason you hear this tip so much is that it works! If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home costs only $2.50, then in a year, you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.
- Commit to eating out one fewer time each month. Save money without sacrificing your lifestyle by taking small steps to reduce your dining budget. Start off with reducing the amount you eat out by just once per month.
Home Savings Tips
- Weatherproof your home. Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss.
- Cut laundry detergent and dryer sheet use in half. The laundry detergent sold today is usually highly concentrated and powerful. Use the smallest suggested amount, and often you can use less than what’s on the bottle and still get clean clothes. In many cases, using less actually washes more effectively because there’s no leftover soap in your clothes. And tearing your dryer sheets in half gives the same result for half the price.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. For every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.
- Comparison shop for homeowner’s insurance. Before renewing your existing homeowner’s insurance policy each year, check out the rates of competing companies.
- Refinance your mortgage. Explore if you have the option to refinance your mortgage to a lower interest rate. On a 15-year $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, lowering the rate from 7 percent to 6.5 percent can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan. And, you will accumulate home equity more rapidly, thus increasing your ability to cover large emergency expenditures.
Transportation Savings Tips
- Comparison shop for auto insurance. Before renewing your existing auto insurance policy each year, check out the rates of competing companies.
- Check multiple sites for low airfares. Don’t rely on a single airline search engine to show you all inexpensive fares. Some discount carriers do not allow their flights to be listed in these third-party searches, so you need to check their websites.
Entertainment Savings Tips
- Take advantage of your library. More and more libraries are offering e-books, so you don’t even need to visit in person. Many libraries are also part of an Intra-library loan system where you can borrow anything you want, but that they don’t have, for a minimal shipping charge. Just ask. And some libraries allow you to borrow things like tools and sewing machines.
If you need any help in starting a discussion about ways to save money, we’d like to invite to get an early access to our How Game are You? Money Edition cards, a suite of game cards that promote real-life conversations around money. To receive sample cards and be advised of the launch dates, pricing, etc., just add your details to the form at the very bottom of this page.