Some apps also offer coupons you can “clip.” Before shopping online or heading to the store, look for coupons or discount codes to save here and there, Arevalo suggests. Apps like RetailMeNot or CouponCabin are a good place to start, or just google a retailer’s name and “coupon code” to find discounts. You can also try the Honey plug-in that automatically identifies when you can save money on an online shopping purchase as you check out.
7. Save your spare change.
Tossing spare change into a jar adds up. Apps like Acorns and Chime do it digitally by rounding up your purchases and saving the difference. “You can save a lot of money without even knowing it,” Alderete says. Again, even if it’s small bits of change here and there, it all adds up over time.
8. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use.
Never use your gym membership or watch one of the streaming services you subscribe to? Harriet Chan, cofounder and marketing director at CocoFinder, says she keeps track of her subscriptions to know how much she spends on them and cancels ones she’s not using very much to save money. For example, she chose to cancel her gym membership and started doing free workout videos online instead.
9. Invest in insurance.
Purchasing renter’s insurance or pet insurance and upgrading your health plan may be an extra up-front expense, but if you can swing it, Salisbury says it can save money in the long run. “It’s better to pay a bit up-front, little by little, than having to scramble for unforeseen expenses that could be much higher,” she says.
10. Never grocery-shop without a list.
We all know the most important grocery shopping rule: Never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. You shouldn’t go without a list, either. Meal planning and making a list before grocery shopping will prevent overspending and help you stick to your budget, Alderete says.
11. Leave your online shopping cart overnight.
Impulse buys often lead to overspending. Darla DeMorrow, a certified professional organizer and owner of HeartWork Organizing, says she adds items to online shopping carts but waits a day or so before purchasing. “You aren’t depriving yourself because you can’t afford it; you’ll get it later,” she tells SELF. Plus, some retailers will even email you a discount code as an extra prod to make the purchase. If it’s something you really want or need, that’s a great bonus!
12. Don’t save credit card information with online retailers.
When an online shop asks if you want to save your credit card details for next time, say no, says Tiffanie Gonzalez-Quevedo, founder and brand manager of High Maintenance Media. It makes it too easy to just press “purchase” without really thinking about it. Gonzalez-Quevedo tells SELF that she used to have her credit card numbers memorized, but actually called and ordered new cards so she couldn’t order items on a whim. “I now have to actually take time to get my wallet and reflect on whether or not this purchase is necessary,” she says.
13. Take the 52-week money challenge.
This method involves saving $1 the first week, $2 the second week, and so on until week 52, when you save $52. After a year, you’ll save $1,378. The process gets you in the habit of saving, Alderete says: “That incremental saving helps you build momentum and see your savings grow.”
14. Ask creditors for lower interest rates.
High-interest rates and fees increase your credit card and bill payments. An overlooked money-saving tip, Alderete says, is to contact creditors and service providers, like cable and phone companies, and ask if they can lower interest rates, waive fees, or offer discounts. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no, so it’s definitely worth a try.
15. Stash away unexpected lump sums.
Extra, unexpected money, such as the new child tax credits or a tax refund, is an opportunity to save. Lisa Sanchez, fashion editor at The Nines, puts at least half of any birthday money and cash back from apps into a Chime savings account, which she says has a relatively high interest rate. “I’ve been able to save money for trips, mortgage payments, and car repairs,” she tells SELF.
16. Use step-down spending.
Step-down spending refers to tweaking spending habits incrementally. “It’s the idea that you do something that you want to do, but you spend less money doing it,” Alderete says. For example, instead of going to the movies at night when tickets are more expensive, go to a cheaper matinee. Step it down further by renting the movie at home.
17. Leverage credit card rewards.
Getting a credit card that offers a solid slate of rewards when you purchase can help you rack up some extra money without trying. Sanchez leverages credit card rewards to purchase gift cards at Target, where she shops for essentials, and Starbucks, which she gives as gifts. “I end up saving hundreds of dollars a year,” she says. Credit card rewards money can be used to pay down your bill, pay for plane tickets or hotel bookings, or simply be transferred to your checking or savings account.
18. Set a specific “de-stressing budget.”
Saving money can be stressful, so Monica Davis, founder and editor in chief of the blog My Straightener, sets a “de-stressing budget” to designate money for items or activities, like unplanned eating out, spa days, or other self-care activities. “That way, you will keep your savings safe from impulsive spending and reach your goals,” she tells SELF.
19. Save money by bartering.
Have a skill or offer a service? Bartering, or exchanging services or items, is another money-saving tip that can work for some people. For example, Alderete says she has a friend who owns a carpet-cleaning business who uses bartering to save money, including getting free school tuition for her child after cleaning the school’s carpets. Of course, if you have a skill that you do for a living, you want to make sure you’re being paid your worth. But ideally, bartering can be a way to get a great deal on something you really want or need that’s worth more than the cash you’d get for the job.
20. Sell items you don’t use.
Selling clothing, household items, or anything else you’re not using on sites like Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay can bring in some extra cash. Arevalo recommends saving the proceeds or using them to pay down debt.
21. Lower your utility bills.
There’s a reason parents love setting the heat at borderline-unreasonable temps in the winter. Lowering your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save up to 10% a year on your utility bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home, says installing a tankless or on-demand water heater can save you even more. “This extra money can go straight into your savings account,” she tells SELF. Of course, this is another tip that may involve some significant up-front spending to save in the long-term, so your mileage may vary on how realistic that is to actually implement.
22. Use spending as a reward.
Focusing on saving doesn’t mean never buying something you love or spending money on an activity you enjoy. But consider delaying the purchase as a reward for meeting your savings goals, Salisbury suggests. “By delaying that purchase, you’re giving yourself more time to save for that special splurge or treat-yourself item,” she says.
23. Plan for the future.
As you plan your savings strategy, you want to make sure to save for retirement too, Arevalo says. It’s a good idea to set both short-term savings goals, such as a vacation or a home down payment, and long-term goals, like retirement. You can read about the different types of retirement savings plans on the IRS website, but this stuff can get confusing. If you’re struggling to figure out the best retirement savings plan for you, talking to a financial adviser can help. A good place to start is with your company’s H.R. department. Find out what retirement savings plans your employer offers (and if they chip in some contributions on your behalf), and then go from there.
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