Building savings is essential, but it can be easier said than done. Maybe you never have any extra cash to save. Or perhaps extra money doesn’t always make it into your savings account — or stay there. These tips can help make your money-saving efforts more successful.
10 Tips for Saving Money
Here is a quick look at some tips for saving money.
- Set a savings goal.
- Create a savings budget category.
- Keep your savings separate from your spending money.
- Put a stop to small expenses.
- Trim the expenses you can’t avoid.
- Reduce discretionary spending.
- Stay on top of your budget.
- Try a savings challenge.
- Have a plan for extra cash.
- Use savings only for its intended purpose.
Keep reading to learn more about these tips to determine which ones will work the best for you.
1. Set a Savings Goal
Create a savings goal with a specific purpose, amount and end date. Whether you’re building an emergency fund or saving for something fun like a vacation, setting a goal can help motivate you and keep you on track.
2. Create a Savings Budget Category
Make sure “savings” is one of your budget categories. Pay yourself each month as budgeted — preferably before any spending — to build a lifelong savings habit.
3. Keep Your Savings Separate From Your Spending Money
Have a separate — preferably interest-bearing — account for your savings. Keeping your savings in the same account as your spending money may make it harder to track and more tempting to spend.
4. Put a Stop To Small Expenses
Analyze your spending for small, avoidable expenditures that can be eliminated or minimized. Avoiding expenses such as ATM fees and daily vending machine sodas may allow you to save an extra $20 or more per month.
5. Trim the Expenses You Can’t Avoid
Some expenses are essential, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save on them. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees. Cut five minutes from your daily shower. Consolidate errands so you can drive less and save on gas. Individually, these savings may be small, but they can add up.
6. Reduce Discretionary Spending
Trim your discretionary spending without cutting out the fun. Meet your friends for happy hour rather than dinner. Change your Netflix subscription to the cheapest plan. Spend your free time on a hobby rather than online shopping.
7. Stay on Top of Your Budget
Without a budget, you can’t clearly see if your cost-cutting is making a difference. Updating your budget as needed and using it to plan for expenses — rather than simply recording them after the fact — can help you prevent overspending.
8. Try a Savings Challenge
A savings challenge can make saving money fun and help you be more successful. You can find several savings challenges online or create your own.
9. Have a Plan for Extra Cash
Make sure you have a plan for any additional money you find in your budget. You don’t have to save it all. You can even split it in several ways: save a third, spend a third and use a third to pay down debt.
10. Use Savings Only for Its Intended Purpose
Unless it is unavoidable, don’t touch your savings other than for its intended use. The more you dip into it, the longer it will take to reach your goal.
Rules for Saving Money
You may find it easier to save money by following some common spending, budgeting and savings rules.
What Is the 30-Day Rule for Spending?
The 30-day rule is essentially a waiting period on discretionary purchases. Before spending money on any unplanned purchase, take 30 days to think about it. This rule can help you avoid impulse purchases that you might lose interest in soon after buying.
What Is the 50/30/20 Rule for Money?
The 50/30/20 rule is one of many percentage-based budgeting rules. A budget based on this rule allocates 50% of income to necessary expenditures, 30% to discretionary expenses and 20% to savings. Following a budgeting rule such as the 50/30/20 rule can help you live within your means and save for your future.
What Is the 10% Savings Rule?
The 10% savings rule dictates that you save 10% of your gross income. It is a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau “savings rule to live by.” If the 50/30/20 rule is too stringent for your current financial situation, saving 10% may be a more attainable goal — and you can increase the percentage as your situation improves.
What is the trick to saving money? Saving money isn’t always easy, but creating a maintainable budget that includes savings will help you get started. From there, you can determine which money-saving and budgeting tips, tricks and rules work for you. Most importantly, when you find tips for saving money that work, stick with them and watch your savings grow.