Have you found it difficult to find creative ways to save money (especially during the pandemic)? If there is anything that 2021 has taught you so far it’s that you need to see a change and SOON.
The year is halfway over and in the last 16 months you’ve already seen:
- A global pandemic that has canceled and limited your access to “normal life” and forced you and your family to stay home
- A slowdown in the economy that impacted how you are able to care for your family
Would I be oversimplifying if I said finding creative ways to save more money could solve all of these problems?
Let’s play that idea out for a moment and see if there’s any truth to that statement as we review the 15 ways you could save more money that could add up to an extra $1,000 in your bank account.
1. Reduce Your Overall Expenses
You will be pleasantly surprised to find that you may have expenses for items and services that you may not use every single month or not anymore.
For example, when I had to look at my budget to find extra money, I found that I could reduce my cable bill.
Prior to budgeting, I was spending $250/month on my cable package. In order to reduce this expense, I turned in my cable box and purchased a streaming packing with Sling TV.
Also, I negotiated the price for my Internet. The total monthly savings from making this change totaled $125/month.
2. Create A Budget To Track Your Spending
I remember in April 2018 when I created my first budget and it was a “hot mess”. During this time, I missed a lot of my expenses because I was doing it based on my memory vs. checking my bank account statements.
In looking back, I had this “fear” in seeing how much money I was spending each month that I didn’t want to face. I realized that I was doing myself a disservice by not being “real” with my spending and if I continued going further I would not achieve anything.
It took a couple of months, but I was able to create a budget that worked for me.
If you were like me and NEVER created a budget before, here are some tips to get started:
Steps To Create Your Budget
· Review your last month’s bank & credit card statements
· Write down your monthly income and expenses
· Establish your “budget limits” for your expense and debt categories
· Find an app (I use EveryDollar) to create my budget and track my money
3. Start “Paying Yourself First”
The best part of deciding that you want to save more money is that you sometimes forget how to make sure YOU are actually getting the money you deserve.
If you think about it, we have been conditioned to make sure all our obligations are paid first once we get paid.
However, what happens with this approach is that we don’t have anything left to save and we wonder why we can’t get ahead financially.
Here are my rules on paying yourself first:
· Once you get paid, direct deposit a portion of your money to your savings and retirement accounts
· Make sure you have a monthly saving goal. A reasonable goal should be between 15-20% of your take-home income should be allocated to your savings
I want you to set your own saving rules. However, believe it’s necessary to save more than you are comfortable with in order to meet my standard.
You need to get in the habit of putting yourself first when it comes to saving money each month.
4. Negotiate your fixed expenses
Did you know that you can reduce some of your fixed expenses?
An area of opportunity that is often missed is reviewing the amount you are paying for your current homeowners and car insurance. You will be surprised to see that every year the price goes up which takes more money out of your budget.
Here are the steps:
- Pull out the bills for each provider. Look at your bills and review the prices you pay for services like telephone, internet, cable, and more.
- Conduct comparison shopping. Start looking around for competitors to compare prices.
- Negotiate with your current provider to get a better deal. If you find a better rate, call your current provider with the price you found. Tell them you’re going to leave for a new provides if it can’t be matched. A service I have used in the past (BillShark) will negotiate on your behalf to get you better-discounted rates for a small fee.
- Jump ship to the new provider. Switch providers to the cheaper one, if necessary. Your money is only loyal to you.
5. Buy with Points
You are a savvy shopper and you’ve likely been racking up credit card rewards points. You’ve earned the right to use these funds and you can use them any way you want.
You can either buy gift cards that you can either give as a gift or use the gift card to purchase a special gift for your loved ones.
If you have points and aren’t sure of the best ways to spend them, there are plenty of websites to help you maximize their redemption.
Award Wallet, for example, is a website that allows users to view all of their membership points in one place. A paid membership of $30 per year offers a tool to help users determine the best ways to maximize their points earned with each merchant.
6. Leverage Apps That Focus On Saving You Money
You can opt for a check or a gift card or the funds could be deposited into your account depending on the app, and it’s a great way to get paid for shopping.
7. Open A CD Or Other Short-Term Savings Account
You can open a certificate of deposit (CD) at your bank, which will keep your money locked away for a set period of time – usually 6 months. However, the downside is that you’ll have to deposit the full amount you want to save upfront.
You can’t add money to most CDs, so this may only be a good option if you have a bonus or large overtime check you want to save for Christmas shopping. (source: SmartAsset).
With a short-term savings account, you can deposit $50 every week from mid-October to mid-December into the account and you can easily save up over $400.
8. Buy in bulk
Let’s face it, there are some folks on your gift list who don’t know one another. I’m not saying get the same thing for everyone in your family, but there’s no harm in getting the same gift for people in different circles.
You’ll get a better price when you purchase more than 1, and you can always package up the gift differently to reflect their specific taste.
Items You Can Purchase In Bulk To Save Money
- Cough and cold medicines, tissues and vitamins
- Diet foods including brands like Healthy Choice, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Special K, Kashi, Smart Start, and 100-Calorie Packs, oatmeal and diet shakes
- Personal care products like lotions, body washes
- Groceries like soups, teas, sodas, chips and snack foods
Perishable products like eggs, citrus fruits, cabbage, broccoli, chard, collards, pears and more (only buy as much as you’ll use).
9. Use Coupons
Now I want you to forget the image of your grandmama with her frugal ways, coupon purse and her cupboard of canned goods.
There’s a lot we can learn from our elders and saving money is timeless and classic like an LV purse or LBD.
January is the biggest month for coupons, too. Want to know how you can line up maximum savings on groceries?
Tips For Locating Coupons
- Look through the circulars and forthemommas.com/ to see what’s going on sale for the week
- Go to your local store apps to find digital coupons (Target, CVS, Shoprite, etc.)
- Check the coupon sites like smartsource.com and redplum.com for printable coupons
- Plan your shopping around the sales items
10. Get deals on your Favorite Dining Options
There are sites you can search to find the best food and drink deals around the country like Thrillist (thrilllist.com) and eatdrinkdeals. And Grubhub and UberEats have deals for first-time customers.
10. Change Your Money Mindset
Mindset. Say this to yourself now: ”I deserve to be wealthy.” Regardless of your background, your income, your story, or your situation. You need to let go of limiting beliefs that make you think you are not someone who deserves a good life with good things.
It’s not who you are that’s holding you back, it’s who you think you are not.
11. Join A Savings Challenge
So… how can you save money EVERY day without it being overkill? You can save $50 a day in order to accumulate $1000 in the next 21 days. By sharing your small wins and staying committed to the process.
Also, join a Facebook group that shares common goals and interests around saving money.
Sharing your financial goals is just a way for you to talk about what is going on in your life right now. That’s it. There’s nothing more to it.
12. Establish Your Savings Goals
When you’ve worked on finding ways to save money for a while, you’ll want to start considering how you can accelerate your savings.
This doesn’t mean you should be saving $2,500 when you only bring in $4,000/month.
It means you’re making a commitment based on your personal financial goals and how fast you want to achieve them. This helps you budget better and helps you project your future savings.
13. Create An Emergency Fund Account
Once you have created a budget and determined how much you can save each month, set aside enough money to create an Emergency Fund account to prepare for any unexpected expenses.
Your goal should be to save at least six months of your expenses within your savings account.
14. Find Inexpensive Membership Options
In reviewing your budget, you can identify a number of memberships that you may not be currently using or is too expensive to keep. Some examples of memberships you could consider canceling are the following:
- Gym/Fitness Classes
- Amazon Prime
- Clothing/Apparel (i.e. Just Fab. Fabletics)
- Sam’s Club/Costco
15. Establish A Budget Plan For Your Utilities
If you find yourself having difficulty budgeting your utilities as the bill varies drastically with each season, you are not alone. The simplest way to plan ahead for this expense would be to request a “budget billing” plan where you pay a set amount each month versus the actual cost incurred. This makes it easy on your budget and allows you the flexibility to add your extra savings to your emergency fund account or towards eliminating your debt.