Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you’re saving for a vacation or an emergency fund, there are many smart ways to do so without feeling deprived. Start by trying these smart money-saving tips and watch the cash pile up in your account.
1. Create a Separate Account for Supplemental Income
Start freelancing or tutoring, or consider taking a side gig. Have the pay go into a separate account while you continue to use your current checking account for everyday banking. This way, all the money from your supplemental income can be saved toward your financial goal.
If that separate account has debit card access, you can keep the card at home in a secure place to prevent the temptation of using the money.
2. Call Companies and Start Canceling
Make a list of all the services you subscribe to or order from on a regular basis. This may include cable, internet, phone service, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships and more. Circle any services you have, but don’t use. Cancel those right away.
For services you want but may be paying too much for, call the company and ask for a better deal. You can also comparison-shop online to find better savings.
3. Save Big at the Grocery Store by Knowing Where to Look
Start by walking around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the basics, such as produce and meats, are located. If you skip processed foods, you’re paying less and eating healthier. When you do need packaged items, look up and down — the lower and upper shelves away from eye-level usually contain less expensive brands.
Take your phone with you when you shop. Use online coupons to save more and compare prices. If you find a lower price at a competitor, many stores will match the price, saving you even more money.
4. Take Advantage of Employer-Matching Retirement Accounts
Check with your company to see if it offers a retirement account where the employer will match a certain percentage of pre-tax earnings, automatically taken out of the employee’s paycheck each month. A typical contribution match will be around 3% to 6% of an employee’s salary.
Since this money is taken out before the employee gets their paycheck, it’s an easy and smart way to save money for your retirement.
5. Post Pictures of Your Motivation
Are you saving for a house or a special purchase? Use a photo of your target as your phone’s wallpaper or place the photo on your desk or in your car. If you don’t have a specific target, post the savings goal you have. Each time you want to spend money, take a look at what you’re aiming for. Is the impulse buy really worth putting off that dream?
6. Sign Up for Cash Rewards, Loyalty Programs and Coupons
Company newsletters and loyalty or customer rewards programs are designed to save you money. If you always shop at the same grocery store, sign up for their reward card and coupons for extra discounts.
Being smart about what credit card you use can also help you save at the store. Check out our Founder’s Card – you can earn 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase when using your card. (See the PSECU Visa® Founder’s Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.)
7. Track Your Spending for a Month
For one month, keep a running list of every purchase you make. Record even the tiniest of purchases, like a coffee. By the end of the month, you’ll see where your money is really going. You can also target those purchases you want to cut out. For example, if you know you spend $20 a week on cafeteria lunches you don’t really enjoy, you can cut down on big spending each month by packing your own lunch for less.
Writing down all your purchases also keeps you on track. You may find it easier to say “no” to impulse buys and small purchases if you have to write them down and make yourself accountable for them.
8. Automate Your Savings
You can have a pre-determined amount of money automatically deposited into your savings account each month, before you even have a chance to miss it. You’re less likely to use your savings if the money is not in your main account.
PSECU has several account options depending on your financial goal. Contact us to learn more about a Money Market Share, Regular Savings Share, Vacation Savings Share or Christmas Savings Share.
You can also go a bit further by not linking your savings account to your debit card, meaning you can’t withdraw the money you’re trying to save from an ATM.
9. Say “No” to the Habits That Make You Overspend
Do you always buy things when you go window-shopping? Do you always want to go on a spending spree after looking at ads or magazines? Identify the habits that lead to spending and cut them out of your life. Watching less TV and staying out of stores can have a big impact on how much you save.
Want more money management tips? Check out the resources on our WalletWorks page.