Strategies for Saving Money

Saving money is a beneficial skill to have for several reasons. It may help stretch your paychecks further and you can also work on saving for the future. If you have accumulated debt, saving money may help you pay off your loans, too. Frugality is the first step toward saving money. What you do with your saved funds is up to you.

Track Spending

Tracking your spending is the first step toward spending less and saving money. Take one month to watch where and how you spend money, recording all expenses and expenditures. Make notes about how and why you spent money so you can analyze your habits later. After the month elapses, categorize your spending into different areas such as shelter, transportation, food, clothing, education, and entertainment. Add up the total for each category so you have a rough idea of how much you typically spend on each one.

Cut Spending

After tracking and totaling your spending, it’s time to look for ways to cut back. Many cutbacks can be relatively painless, such as planning your grocery shopping more carefully to include only sales items or generic products. You might reduce your clothing expenses by shopping at thrift stores. Make a commitment to eat out less and cook at home more to save money. If you have numerous automatic subscriptions that you pay for monthly, consider canceling as many as possible. It’s likely you’ll find many cutbacks easier than you think and saving money can be very rewarding.

Make a Budget

After outlining your expenses and planning the areas to cut, create a new budget that includes your expenses and any other planned spending. Include a savings plan in your budget and incorporate these funds directly into your savings vehicles, whether savings accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, mutual funds, or stocks. Use your budget for the first month, track your spending, and then reassess to see how successful you were in sticking to your budget. Make any adjustments after the first month, and then use the budget for the second month. This trial and error approach may help you find a budget that fits your lifestyle and may help you spend less and save more.

Use Saving Tools

You have many options for accumulating savings. Standard savings accounts are one possibility but don’t overlook certificates of deposit, mutual funds, securities, stocks, and retirement accounts. Check with your bank to find out if you can transfer money between checking and savings accounts. You might also be able to set up automatic transfers between your accounts, so you don’t have to remember to add to your savings account.

Be Creative

Life doesn’t have to be drudgery just because you’re trying to spend less and live within a budget. Make saving a challenge and look for new and creative ways to spend less money. Try packing a lunch to take to work instead of grabbing something at a nearby restaurant. You might try a fun bento lunch box with small sections for a different snack or food. Visit the library regularly instead of spending money on books, music, and movies. Many libraries even have electronic lending options, enabling you to borrow electronic copies of books, audiobooks, and music. Challenge yourself to learn new automotive maintenance skills such as changing your own oil so you can save money on these repetitive expenses. Instead of eating out with friends, plan a potluck gathering with everyone contributing a dish and beverage to share. You might even find that you prefer to relax and hang out at home with friends instead of always going out.

Resources

About the Author

Carly Hallman

Carly has been a thought leader, and executive within a large financial brand since 2011. As the Director of Marketing, she enjoys working alongside her brilliantly creative team to expand the their digital footprint and bring their marketing and business objectives to the next level of awesome. Outside of work, Carly donates her design skills to Savannah Children's Theatre and volunteers with Coastal Pet Rescue saving and finding homes for homeless animals. She also enjoys sports, boating, painting, and all outdoor adventures. Her favorite color is any hue that looks like the ocean and she loves boiled peanuts.