Looking for some smart ways for saving money? Many people struggle with learning and practicing ways to save money for the future. It can feel like an uphill battle when you are constantly spending more money than intended and never having enough of your paycheck to put aside for those unexpected emergencies that crop up in your day-to-day life. Most things in life have a cost attached to them and it can feel overwhelming.
With a little financial knowledge, you can start saving, even if there are necessities that need paying for, like those bills that you need to pay monthly. Below are 10 tips that will help you save your hard-earned money more wisely no matter your income or if you haven’t been able to save before.
10 Tips for Smart Saving
Let’s take a look at how we can be smarter about saving money. It’s important to put money aside out of your paycheck. This is how you cover emergency expenses, unforeseen job loss, and plan for your retirement.
The recommended amount you should be putting aside is about 10-15% of your income. Over time, this adds up and creates a great cushion for you and your family. However, a lot of people struggle to put aside money every month. It feels overwhelming and impossible, especially if you have debt and a low income. Others just don’t know where to even begin.
If you have never tried saving before, or find it overwhelming and too hard to begin, then here are 10 great tips to help you start saving without feeling overwhelmed, confused, and a personal finance failure.
Record all expenses
Before you can even think of making a budget and putting money aside for savings, you need to know exactly what your spending habits are and the exact monetary amount you are spending. That means you need to record every single expense for a month. This means every tip you give, every pumpkin spice latte you buy, everything. Once you know all that, start categorizing the spending. Break the spending down into gas, bills, groceries, and mortgage or rent. Look at your past bank statements or credit card bills to ensure total accuracy.
If you struggle with doing this manually, there are plenty of computer programs and apps that you can use and automate the process, which might be a better option.
Your budget should include a savings category
When you make a budget, do you include a category for savings? If you are not, then you absolutely should be. Building up your savings needs to be a priority, or chances are you won’t actually do it. Including a savings category in your budget prioritizes putting some of your money aside and intentionally building your savings. As previously mentioned, your savings should be around 10-15% of your income. This will help you start to think more often about saving money.
Pay down your debts-Yes, it’s worth mentioning twice!
This smart saving tip is so important that it was worth mentioning again but focus on how it affects your ability to save money. If you have debt, then you cannot save effectively because all of your money is going to pay off the debt. The less money you have in savings, the more disastrous things like a car accident or leaky pipe can be for you. Getting rid of your debt is essential for saving money.
It’s recommended to pay down all significant debts, and only put aside little bits of money in your savings. Once you pay these off, then you can start paying any other small debts and it might be ok to increase the amount you are saving slowly. The priority should be to get out of debt as quickly as you can.
Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships
Subscriptions and memberships are great, but not if you don’t use them. Then they are wasting money that could be going into your emergency fund or just your savings. It’s really important to periodically evaluate which subscriptions and memberships you are using all the time and which ones you are not.
Once you know which ones you are not using, then be sure to cancel them and plan what you will do with the extra money you have saved. Be sure to check your bank statements the following month, as sometimes they do not cancel properly and chase those up and get a refund if necessary.
Use automatic savings programs and apps
Sometimes, people are not good at remembering to take a bit out of their earnings and set it aside every month, due for many reasons. Sometimes it’s being too busy with work and family life, other times it just being plain old forgetful. Whatever the reason, if this keeps happening, then it might be worth looking at using a savings app, which will automatically do the saving for you.
For this smart saving tip, consider using one of many different apps available. Most have options that will let you automate a set amount to be taken out of your account on a pre-arranged basis. It’s a fantastic way to build up your savings while saving you time and not having to think and remember to do it manually.
Use cashback apps and coupons
Using coupons to save you money is still a viable option today. Nothing feels better than using a 50% off coupon to buy that much-needed item that you have been eyeing for months.
There are also apps out there that will give you cashback when you purchase certain items, even give you money back on your weekly grocery shopping.
You can use the money to buy yourself an extra treat, or why not stick the savings directly into your savings account.
Spend your bonuses and unexpected income wisely
There is always a temptation to go on a spending spree when you get that nice Christmas bonus check, but there might be better ways to use that money. If you get a nice bonus or unexpected inheritance, consider what your options are before you spend it all.
If you have debt, then paying down your debts is a much better way to use that money. If you are debt-free, then consider putting it all in your emergency fund or a sinking fund, or both. Always think about the future when you get extra money and be sure you are making the best decision before spending it all.
Reduce energy costs
Reducing how much you spend on your utilities in your home is another excellent way to save money. It’s really simple to cut costs on your electricity bill, for example by installing dimmer switches and LED lightbulbs, which reduce the amount of electricity you are using. Other ways to save some money include taking shorter showers, making sure all your pipes are in good working order, even buying more energy-efficient appliances can help save you money, even though they are expensive. By saving up over time, you can reduce the upfront cost and make those improvements over time.
Utilise a spending freeze
If you really need to cut back on your spending, why not try a spending freeze. This is where you don’t buy any non-essential items for a specified period of time. It can be one day or an entire month, it’s completely up to you.
To help you stick to your spending freeze, do things like prepping meals with food items that you already have in the house. This will help you avoid stores where impulse buying is a major concern and help you say ‘no’ to anything that isn’t a basic need.
Set smart savings goals
If it’s a great idea to set spending goals, then it’s a great idea to set savings goals as well. Your savings goal should be specific but realistic. If you are only working part-time, then trying to save $10,000 by the end of the year is unattainable and you will not stick to your goal. Saving $1000 might be a much more achievable goal in this case. Using a savings calculator is a smart way to help you figure out how much money you will have to set aside each month. This will help you decide if your goal is practical and realistic.
Goals help you stay on track and give you a feel-good boost when you achieve them. Attaching and reaching a savings goal can give you a much-needed happiness boost when it comes to conquering your personal finances. This confidence boost can lead to setting and achieving more savings goals in the future, helping you grow your savings.
Takeaways on smart saving
Smart saving helps you save you money that you can use for the future. Understanding the basics of personal financing, like making and sticking to a budget, is an essential skill that all adults need to know how to do. There are many resources available to help you learn how to make better financial decisions for your future.
Spending your money wisely requires understanding your spending habits and long-term spending goals and prioritizing them, so you spend money on the right things.
Saving money requires including it in your budget, making clear goals, and utilizing your smart spending habits to help build and grow your future savings.