If you find yourself out of money before you run out of month, you are not the only one!
A recent survey found that more than 7 in 10 Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense without borrowing the funds or going in debt.
Not having money in savings can leave you in a very stressful situation. Plus, the more money you have, the more you can make!
It is so important to learn good saving habits and stick to them. You do not have to be a millionaire to put money away for a rainy day, and you do not have to be independently wealthy to retire in style.
With a few simple changes to your priorities and your daily routine, you can jump start your savings and put your finances on a more sustainable track.
Here are 10 easy ways to save money to help you get started.
1. Learn to cook
All that takeout pizza can can add up. It may not seem like that much to spend $10 on a sandwich at lunch, but when you are doing that on the regular you are spending a lot! There is a reason why this is number 1 in my list of easy ways to save money.
Let’s say you usually eat out 4 times a week at a minimum of $12 a meal. That’s $48 in one week!
But, if you had just cooked yourself or made a sandwich you would have spent probably $6 total.
Buy fresh, inexpensive ingredients and learn how to make your own meals. Make a week’s worth of meals ahead of time; it is an easy way to save money on daily lunches.
Here are 30 budget-friendly meal prep ideas that will save you time and money!
2. Save your spare change
Keep a jar by the front door and deposit your change there when you return home each evening. When the jar fills up, take it to the bank and add it to your emergency fund.
One of my favorite easy ways to save money is with digital apps that essentially save that spare change for you.
I personally love Acorns which rounds up spare change on purchases you make on your debit card. Not only does it automatically park that money somewhere for you, it invests it so that it grows!
Sign up for Acorns with my link and get an automatic $5 in your account!
3. Place your money in a high-yield savings account
Every penny you earn in interest is one less penny out of your pocket.
Find accounts with the best interest rates, and then consolidate your money into that umbrella. One of the easiest ways to save money is to make the money you have saved, well make money!
Having an account that pays me to put my money in it makes me even more interested in saving. Discover has a high yield savings account that has a current return of around 1.8%!
Whatever helps you stay motivated to save is good to use. Set a goal for yourself.
Once you have an emergency fund saved, you can start saving for that vacation you want to take. Or the online business you want to start! Or maybe just that great pair of knee-high boots you’ve been eyeing.
4. Pay in cash instead of using credit cards
You’ve probably heard of the envelope system. Put only the cash you need for the week in an envelope and use that for anything you purchase.
It is easy to overspend when using plastic, so put yourself on an all-cash diet for a month or two. You may be surprised at how much less money you spend.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to not spend it, so leave the credit cards at home.
5. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
Stocking up on fresh produce, quality dairy products and other perimeter items can save you money.
Plus, it forces you to improve your diet and helps you avoid the unhealthy packaged foods that live in the interior of the store.
And of course, using coupons and savings apps like iBotta will help you save money at the grocery store.
6. Learn how to say no
If you have kids, you also have an endless list of needs and wants. Learn to separate the two and say no when it is warranted; your kids will thank you some day.
And, of course, sometimes you have to say no to yourself too. Avoid visiting your favorite boutique if you are trying to save. The easiest way to not overspend your budget is to not go near the temptation.
It is a good idea to make a list each month of needs and wants. It can help you stay on track and save more. Learn how to build a better home budget and help yourself stay on track with saving money.
7. Sell your stuff and put the money into savings
You may have a ton of items filling up junk drawers and junk closets that you simply don’t use.
Put those items to work and turn them into cold hard cash for your savings account! Try Facebook Marketplace, Craigs List or Ebay. I’ve been finding a lot of success lately with Facebook Marketplace.
An easy way to save money is to sell your stuff. Plus, turning clutter into cash can make your house look better and your life more simplified.
8. Eliminate or consolidate debt
Debt is the biggest savings killer there is. If you are getting hit every month with minimum payments and finance charges, it can make saving extra feel impossible.
Do everything you can to pay down your debt faster. (Try these 14 cash hacks to make $2,500 in one month!)
You can always move your debt from a card that has finance charges to a zero APR balance transfer offer on a new card.
These are usually for a year at least, which gives you time to pay down the debt. Plus, it eliminates that monthly finance charge.
9. Look for ways to trim your monthly expenses
The less you spend, the more you can save. Check the detailed billing on your cable bill, cell phone statement and other monthly expenses.
Cutting those unneeded perks could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Look for hidden recurring fees as well. Sometimes when you sign up for free trials, they end up automatically charging you each month once the trial ends. Small items like these can go unnoticed unless you are paying close attention to your monthly bank statements.
Find ways to save on your utilities by altering the temp in your home when you are away. If you are paying for services like lawn cutting, try doing it yourself for a few months so you can pocket the extra cash.
10. Downgrade your big ticket items
If you are driving around a brand new car with a big monthly payment trade it in!
Buy a gently used car instead of a brand new one. Saving money on big purchases like the car you drive is a great way to boost your financial well being and take charge of your life.
Or if you live in a big house all by yourself, take in a roommate for a few months and put all that rent money in a savings account.
If you can find a new way to make several hundred dollars a month, it is one of the easiest ways to save money.
Another easy way to save on larger purchases you may have to make is to negotiate. From washing machines to refrigerators, you can negotiate a better price if you know how to haggle.
Saving money is not always easy, but it may be simpler than you think. And it certainly is important!
Check out our post on How Much You Should Save Each Month for a personalized guide on savings.
Here are my favorite budgeting and saving apps:
iBotta for special offers and cash back on groceries.
Acorns which takes your spare change from purchases and invests it for you to help you make even more money.