Do you need to save money for a significant purchase, to make a down payment on a new home, to begin a college fund for the children, or any other reason? People who go on saving sprees do so for hundreds of different reasons. Whatever your monetary goal is if you are looking for ways to add some heft to the savings account, consider any of the following methods. They all have the potential to fatten the coffers and give you more options in life:
Join a Shopping Club
Credit counselors say the average person can save more than $1,200 each year by joining a shopping club. Memberships cost less than $80 annually and stand to keep you at least ten times that in grocery bills. Most cities have at least two membership clubs, so check online reviews to see which one has the best selection and customer service.
Refinance Student Debt
If you have student loans, consider yourself lucky. For starters, you got a good education. Second, you now have a ready source of savings if you decide to refinance all your educational debt. A student loan refi from Earnest.com works to help you in three distinct ways. You will have more time to pay off the obligation. You’ll likely be able to obtain a lower interest rate, thus allowing you to pay down more of your principal amount owed. It’s called instant savings by those who opt for the strategy, and it can work wonders for your financial health.
Cancel Your Cable Subscription
There’s one thing we can all live with less of in our lives, and that’s television. To save an instant chunk of money, cancel the cable subscription, and learn to enjoy what’s on broadcast channels. Or, the horror of horrors, give up TV altogether. Many have done so and survived to tell their stories. All joking aside, you stand to sock away an additional $500 annually by cutting the cable cord.
Eat at Home
Did you know that the average family spends more than $3,200 every year on eating in restaurants and fast-food places? Even if you live alone, eating at home is maybe the single best, and quickest, way to free up cash and add it to your stockpile. Do you succumb to the temptation to dine out with coworkers? Most of us feel that urge at least a few times each week. Resist.
Instead, pack a lunch and eat at your desk, in the company cafeteria, at the park across the street or in your car. Then, complete the savings circle by heading straight home after work and eating dinner there. In less than one week, you’ll see money accumulating in your wallet or checking account.
Try an Eclectic Approach
The so-called “eclectic” strategy refers to employing one or more of the following quick-fix spending methods:
- Freeze all spending: do a two- or three-day spending freeze and see how much cash you can save. Many folks balk at the extremism of this method, but it works like a charm. What you’ll likely discover is that you already have a lot of food in your frig and cupboards, there are things to do for fun that don’t cost money, walking is good exercise and a smart way to reduce stress, you can make coffee in your kitchen and life without candy and fast-food is really quite nice.
- Ban yourself from fast-food joints, coffee shops, and convenience stores: This is the limited version of the method above, in which you simply cut out three money-eating places from your life. Instead of fast-food, eat at home. Make coffee at home, too, and don’t enter convenience stores. If you need gasoline, buy it at the pump with a debit card and then leave.
- Go bare-bones on phone bills: Contact your carrier and go medieval on your phone plan. In other words, get rid of any bells and whistles and opt for the basic services. You stand to save a bunch with this move and might learn to like the simplicity of using a telephone for its basic purpose.
- Try a stay-cation: When you’re trying to save but still need some downtime, don’t book air tickets and out-of-town hotel rooms for a traditional vacation. Instead, stay home and enjoy the city or town where you live. You’ll still get the mental health benefits of a real vacation but won’t drop a ton of cash on souvenirs, hotel expenses, and airfare.
- Make a zero-based budget: A zero-based budget, a term created by a federal government that has never been able to follow one, means assigning a job to every penny you take in. Create a monthly budget and designate every dollar toward a specific expense, or to a savings account. It takes time and some emotional fortitude to build one of these things, but you’ll be glad you did. Super-detailed planning like this is a good thing because it teaches you how to handle your own money when times are tight. Then, when conditions improve, and you don’t need to save every extra penny, life will seem much more relaxed.
- Always hunt for discounts: Before making any large purchases, go online and check for discounts, coupons, and special deals. It’s likely you’ll turn up a digital discount code or two that knocks 10 or 20 percent off something you already intended to buy. This strategy works well for children’s toys, clothing, salon services, and entertainment expenses.
Slash Utility Bills
Chopping utility bills is a potential area of savings that many people overlook. Think about swapping out old light bulbs for newer, much more efficient LEDs. Buy a programmable thermostat and slice a big chunk off your heating and cooling bills. Turn lights off and unplugs appliances when you leave rooms. Opt for a laptop rather than a large desktop computer. Laptops use about one-fifth of the electricity.
The truth is that most people could reduce their utility bills by as much as 60 percent each month just by putting some simple strategies into practice. Electricity costs money, so when you’re trying to save cash, why not reduce utility bills as soon as possible. It’s a lifestyle change that’s easy to make and pays dividends from now on.