25 ways you could be saving money today
Saving money is crucial. Maybe you’re trying to reach a goal of buying a home or moving to a new place. Maybe you have a big purchase in mind, like a car, or want to have extra cash for holiday gifts. Perhaps you’re looking toward retirement and aiming to set yourself up for success. For many people, it’s not that they don’t want to save money, but that they don’t know where to begin—which is why The Simple Dollar rounded up 25 simple ways to start saving money right now.
When it comes to savings, many experts say that a good rule of thumb is having the equivalent of six to eight months of expenses set aside. That money can help out in a crisis, such as losing your job or encountering an unexpected illness. That cash also accrues some value in an account, thanks to bank interest programs. However, that money only accounts for emergency savings and should be kept in an account from which you can easily and quickly draw money. Once you’ve met your base savings goals, you can put money into investments, pay off student debt, or earn toward a specific goal.
However, as important as savings may be, many Americans simply aren’t making it happen. One study from GOBankingRates showed that 57% of the 8,000 people it polled had under $1,000 in savings and 39% had nothing saved at all. And, according to the Economic Policy Institute, almost half of American families have nothing in retirement savings.
Our money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now.
Try cash back rebate websites
What’s a rebate site? Well, these websites have affiliate links and, when you make purchases through those links, they get a small percentage of the sale. As an incentive, they’ll pay back some percentage to the buyer—that’s you—in cash, gift card points, or other rewards.
Use coupon plug-ins
If you shop a lot online, check out coupon plug-ins. These applications run in the background and, when you go to make a purchase, will search to make sure you aren’t missing out on any coupons, deals, or sale codes. Honey and WikiBuy are among two of the more popular services.
Consider using a certificate of deposit
Here’s a smart banking tip: Deposit your money into a certificate of deposit (CD) for a fixed period of time and the bank will pay a higher-than-usual interest rate. When the term is up, snag your money, plus the interest it earned. The risk is relatively low, as CDs are insured up to $250,000, and there are options for CDs that don’t incur a penalty for pulling out money early.
Turn off the lights, switch off the power strip
If you’re not using it, don’t keep it powered on. There’s a lot that goes into calculating exactly how much money is saved by turning off a lightbulb. But it never hurts your wallet, or the environment, to flip off a switch if you don’t need the light, and the same goes for power strips providing energy to devices that aren’t in use.
Eat at home and pack food to go
Treat eating at restaurants like a luxury. Restaurants price food at about three times the actual cost of making it. That $15 salad you’re eating for lunch could cost just $5 to put together at home. To take it a step further, invest in some sturdy plastic food containers to carry food for lunch and snacks.
Cut cable and get an antenna
Cable or satellite TV can be pricey. If you largely watch streaming services and rarely flip channels, consider canceling your subscription and setting up a TV antennae. TVs have built-in tuners and, with the addition of an inexpensive antenna, you can catch the local signal.
Cancel unused subscriptions
Magazines and newspapers piling up? Call in and cancel the subscriptions, see if you can read some of it for free through your library, or consolidate it with a single subscription for a news service like Apple News or Scribd. Likewise, scrub your monthly payments for any digital subscriptions you forgot to cancel. Yup, there’s apps for that.
Buying secondhand clothes, dishware, furniture, and more can save a bundle. You’ll be surprised—many supposedly “used” goods are nearly new. Cars might be the best value in this department. Not only are used cars an average of $14,000 less than new cars, but insurance rates are also lower than they would be for something driven off the lot that’s brand new.
Borrow instead of buy
Do you go camping just once a year and need a new tent? Need a tree trimmer, but just for a one-time gardening project? Or maybe you’re doing some unusual handiwork around the house and need a specialized tool? Instead of buying these items, consider borrowing. Ask family or friends if they have the item you need, check out a tool lending library, or use a lending app like Mooch.
… or, ‘Buy Nothing
The Buy Nothing Project started among the small community on Bainbridge Island, Washington. People who wanted to declutter could offer up free stuff, and people who wanted to save money lucked out. Since then, the project has expanded throughout the United States, with chapters congregating on Facebook and other social media platforms to offer all sorts of free goods.2018 All rights reserved.