23 smart and simple money saving tips
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You work hard for your money, but sometimes, spending it can be all too easy. There’s no judgment here—although saving money is one of the core tenets of personal finance, it can also be one of the hardest to follow, especially in terms of changing deep-rooted habits.
Luckily, there are a few smart and simple steps you can start with today to be better about saving. Here’s a list of money saving tips to help you keep more of your cash where it belongs—with you.
1. Be intentional
Establishing a budget is vital for keeping an eye on how much you make and spend, as well as pinpointing any areas where you can cut back. It can also help keep you accountable when it comes to paying down debt, contributing to an emergency fund, or even just thinking twice before making a large purchase.
Whether it’s keeping a traditional spreadsheet or using one of the many budgeting apps available nowadays, pick a method that you know you can understand and stick with.
2. Pay with cash
Spending can often go up when using a credit card versus cash. If you have credit card debt, resolve to make a simple change to keep that debt from growing—use cash instead of card to help you stick to only using the money you have.
Everyone can appreciate the convenience of a credit card, as well as the appeal that it can be paid off at a later date. But sometimes, inconvenience is what keeps us from overspending or making purchases that we’ll regret later.
3. Switch to a higher yield savings account
As we said before, you work hard for your money, so why not make it work for you too? If you’re using a standard savings account, try a high-yield savings account. They generally have higher interest rates than standard savings accounts, so your money can grow faster without any extra work on your part.
Need some help reaching your savings goals faster? A high yield Varo Savings Account offers no fees and easy auto-saving tools to help grow your money.
4. Buy in person
Online shopping is easy—sometimes too easy—which means it’s easier to overspend too. Just like paying with cash requires a bit more effort than paying with credit, shopping in person isn’t as convenient as shopping online. Make the inconvenience of buying in-person your wallet’s best friend. Although it might require a bit more effort, you may find that you’re thinking twice about making purchases that you normally would at the click of a button.
Also, try to create some friction with regard to your online shopping—delete your connected credit card information so that every time you want to make a purchase you have to think twice before grabbing your credit card from your wallet.
5. Bundle your insurance policies
Most of us are overpaying for insurance without even knowing it. Luckily, there’s a good way to cut down on insurance costs that can even simplify the whole process.
Some insurers reward you when you buy more than one insurance policy with them. Look into bundling your auto insurance with home or renters insurance from the same provider to get a discount on the policies you need.
6. Plan big purchases
Whether it’s a new kitchen appliance, a TV, or even a car, waiting for sales events or seasons when you know you need a high-price item can be a great way to save.
Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday are often the best times to find deals on those big-ticket items you’ve had your eye on. Just make sure to factor them into your budget ahead of time and determine whether or not they make sense for your bottom line.
7. Look for water leaks
If you pay your own water bill, make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain, literally. Turn off all water in your house. Then, find your water meter and take a look at the gauge on it.
Don’t use any water for a couple of hours (that includes flushing the toilet). Now, check your water meter again. If the gauge has moved at all, you probably have a leak, perhaps one that may even be causing damage to your home or apartment. Either notify your landlord, call a professional, or fix it yourself and your wallet will thank you.
8. Look for air leaks
A drafty house can lead to energy waste and unnecessary spending on gas and electricity. Check for air leaks or windows that don’t fully close, and either attempt to fix them yourself or call the necessary professionals in.
Although this may initially cost you a bit if you own, it can save money in the long run, as your heating and A/C systems will be more efficient from season to season.
Sometimes we overspend on birthday and holiday gifts because we want to wow our loved ones with the latest and greatest. To avoid the temptation to overspend, plan gift-giving in advance and DIY whenever possible.
Whether it’s a homemade basket of cookies and sweets, photo collage, bracelet, or piece of art you create, DIY gifts are a great way to cut down on cost while showing how much you care.
10. Review your subscriptions
Make a list of all of your weekly, monthly, and annual subscriptions, then determine the amount you pay for each. With the list in hand, ask yourself two things—do I actually use this enough to justify the cost? Do I actually need it?
Axe all the ones you aren’t using or really don’t need and you may be surprised at how much you save each month.
11. Split meals out
Dining out is a luxury—especially if you’re always the one paying. To lower the cost of dinners out, split meals with your friends or family or make a plan to alternate who pays. You can also get creative with your combinations of shared apps and sides, and still feed everyone plenty for less than the cost of an entree each.
Or instead, use money saving as an opportunity to hone your cooking skills, and create a system in which each of you alternates hosting at home with cost-efficient yet tasty meals.
12. Pay off your credit cards as soon as you can
Every time you leave a balance on your card, you commit to giving your credit card company money each month in interest. Make a plan to pay off your credit cards in full, which can provide the added benefit of boosting your credit score.
Moving forward, pay them in full each month to avoid that pesky interest and unnecessary drain on your wallet.
13. Learn to love your local library
Many of us rack up thousands of dollars on entertainment each year, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
In addition to books, your local library most likely also has movies, music, comics, and even free community events you can take advantage of with a simple library card in hand.
14. Set your bills to auto-pay
If you can avoid them, there’s little reason to waste money on late fees, especially ones that add up over time if you chronically miss payment dates.
Save yourself the headache and hassle of missing payments and paying late fees by putting all of your recurring bills on auto-pay.
15. Celebrate spend-free days or weeks
Whether it’s once a month, once a week, or one day each weekend, set a spend-free day. It may be a challenge at first, but it can get easier with practice.
Stick to it on a regular basis and watch yourself rack up savings. You may even discover areas of spending that you didn’t need in the first place. If you want to take it to the next level, try a spend-free week.
16. Plan your meals
Making both a weekly meal plan and shopping list can help you better stick to your food budget. Shopping with a guide in hand helps you stick to only what you need and avoid throwing food in the trash at the end of the week because it’s gone bad.
Meal prepping in a large batch can also keep you from a last-minute splurge on delivery or eating out. Not only will you be saving money, you’ll avoid the pressure and anxiety that comes from having to decide what to make on a hangry stomach.
17. Pack a lunch
Eating out is pricey, especially if you find you’re doing it 5 times a week for lunch. Take a few minutes in the morning to prepare a bagged lunch for yourself to both cut down on spending and potentially even eat healthier.
Save lunches out for occasions when you’ll actually have time to enjoy them versus crammed in the middle of a busy workday.
18. Choose generic brands
Shopping for generic brands is often a great way to spend money without sacrificing quality.
Although we’re all guilty of assuming that brand names are better, the product quality is often the same, and sometimes you’re really just paying for the branding.
19. Keep your cool
In the summer, keep your A/C bill as low as possible by drawing your shades in the day and opening your windows at night.
Also, remember that fans cool people, not rooms. Turn them off when you leave a space to avoid unnecessary energy usage.
20. Download coupon apps
Nowadays, you don’t need an old-school coupon book to save—just an app or two on your phone. Most apps are free to download and offer easy in-store scanning and the ability to search for the best deals on the items you already need.
Given that the apps make their money from the retailers, not you directly, it’s a win-win for your wallet, especially if you can master several of them at once for different types of purchases.
21. Look for rewards cards
Determine where you shop most frequently and ask if they offer rewards or loyalty cards, as this can be a great way to rack up savings at places you already know you’re to visit regularly.
The Varo Believe Secured Credit Card1 also lets you rack up cashback from more than 50 brands when you shop online or in-store with the card.
22. Cut the cord
Cable TV costs a pretty penny these days, especially when you consider that you’re probably paying for hundreds, if not thousands, of channels that you never watch.
Consider cutting the cord and shifting to streaming services that simply require an Internet connection, as many offer the same shows or programming for a fraction of the cost.
23. Plan vacations in advance
Got a much-deserved vacation coming up this year? Don’t wait until the last minute to book flights and hotels.
Book your hotel in advance, but choose a pay when you arrive option. Then, regularly check for better prices as your trip approaches. For airfare, try to book seven weeks in advance to score the lowest rates.
Whether it’s just about having more cash in your pocket or saving toward a longer term financial goal, incorporating simple money saving tips into your day-to-day routine is a smart way to reduce the stress of overspending and better manage your money. Pick the tips that work best for you and watch the savings add up!
1 To be eligible to apply for the Varo Believe Card, you need to have received Qualifying Direct Deposits of $500 or more in the past 90 days to your Varo Bank Account. A Qualifying Direct Deposit is an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. Tax refunds or government stimulus payments, person- to- person payments (such as Venmo) and funds deposited using a Varo routing number are not considered a direct deposit.
Unless otherwise noted above, opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed by customers or non-Varo contributors do not necessarily state or reflect those of Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s) other than Varo.
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