Sometimes the toughest thing about saving money is just getting started. You try hard to spend less, but something always gets in the way. Life gets in the way – the car needs new tires, the teenager needs braces, the house needs a new roof – and just like that, saving money takes a back seat. Sound familiar?
The truth is, not everything has to magically go perfectly before you start saving money. Spoiler alert: If you wait for the “right time” to come, it never will. The best time to start saving money is right now.
The good news is that there are plenty of straightforward ways to save money and put a breath of fresh air (and fresh money) into your budget. Here are 6 money-saving tips to help you streamline your spending and save money in no time. Even if not all of these strategies apply to you, you could save thousands of dollars a year by implementing a few.
6 Practical Ways Save Money
1. Say Goodbye To Debt
Monthly debt payments are the biggest money eater when it comes to saving money. Debt robs you of your income! So it’s time for you to get rid of debt. The fastest way to pay off debt is the debt snowball method. In this, you pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. Sounds pretty exhausting, right? Don’t worry, it’s more about behavior change than numbers. Once your income is free, you can finally use it to advance your savings goals.
2. Reduce Your Grocery Budget
Most people – after creating a budget – are shocked when they find out how much they actually spend at the grocery store each month. If you’re an average American family of four (with two kids under 5), you probably spend about $328.1 Yikes! It’s so easy to wander the aisles, grab a bag of bread here and a few bags of chips there, and then top it off with the fun treats at the register. But those little purchases (aka “budget busters”) add up quite a bit and blow the budget every single month.
Save money on groceries by meal planning each week and taking a close look at what you already have in your pantry before you go shopping. After all, why would you want to buy more of what you already have? And if you really want to stick to your list – leave the kids at home.
Want to save money and time? Try online grocery pickup or delivery. Most major grocery stores offer this these days (sometimes for free), and it can save a lot of money. When you pick up your groceries, you get rid of the temptation you would have felt at the sight of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the aisles. In other words, you are forced to stick to your list and avoid those impulsive expenses.
3. Cancel Automatic Subscriptions And Memberships.
You’re probably paying for multiple subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym memberships, trendy subscription boxes and Amazon Prime. It’s time to cancel any subscriptions you don’t use regularly. And make sure you turn off auto-renewal when you sign up for a subscription. If you cancel it and find you can’t do without it, subscribe again – but only if it fits into your new and improved budget.
And for the subscriptions you want to keep, think about sharing memberships with family or friends. With many streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, you can watch your favorite shows from two or more screens (with an upgraded account). This way, everyone wins – and saves!
4. Buy Generics
One of the easiest ways to save money is to avoid brand name products. In most cases, the only thing better about brand name products is the marketing. I mean, look at the packaging! The logo is so fancy! And that’s about it. Generic brands of medicines, staple foods (like rice and beans), cleaning products, and paper products cost much less than their expensive branded counterparts – and they work just as well.
5. Disconnect From Cable
It’s no secret that cable prices are going up like crazy. The average monthly price for a cable connection ( TV ) is about $217 per month, including all fees – which adds up to over $2,600 per year!2 Here’s the good news: cable isn’t the only way to watch your favorite shows these days. Break away from cable and find out how you can save big bucks with alternatives to cable TV like network apps and streaming services.
But remember – don’t get happy with subscription services. Only sign up for the streaming services you’ll actually use. If you sign up for everything that’s out there, you could actually end up spending more than cable!
6. Save Money Automatically
Did you know you can save money without even thinking about it? Yes – you can set up your bank account to automatically transfer money from your checking account to a savings account every month. If that seems creepy, you can also set up your direct deposit to automatically transfer 10% of every paycheck into your savings account. Boom!