It’s not called “hard-earned money” for nothing and unless you’re amazingly wealthy, all that money requires a lot of planning to ensure it is ending up in the right places. Being intentional with your money requires a good amount of time and effort but creating both short- and long-term goals for your savings can make it a lot easier to start saving up to reach these goals. Whether your goal is to retire safe and soundly at age 65 or to travel around the world twice before you’re 40, it can be difficult to determine the best place to start saving. Consider these following ways to cut back on costs and save your money overtime without flipping your current lifestyle upside-down.
1. Set Goals for Your Savings
If you don’t already have goals set for where you would like to be financially in the following years, now would be a great time to start thinking about it. Visualizing what you are saving for can help to reinstate some money-saving motivation – Are you looking to purchase a car in 2 years? Get married in 5? Retire in 30? Knowing what your target is and the amount you need to save each month to reach this goal is one of the best ways to really gain some inspiration to stop spending and start saving.
2. Uncover All of Your Unused Subscriptions
Be completely honest with yourself – do you really need 4 different movie streaming services? It’s easy to forget just how many subscriptions we have signed up for over the past years, but the end result can be costly. If you realize that the magazine subscription that you have had for 6 years ends up in the recycle every month without ever being read, maybe it’s time to consider cutting that one loose.
This may not save you thousands of dollars a month, but if you’re looking to find quick and easy ways to cut back on unnecessary spending, this is a great place for all of us to start.
3. Make Your Home Greener
This option isn’t only great for the environment – it’s great for your wallet, too. By making more energy-efficient life choices in your home, it may feel like you’re spending more now, but the overall savings will be worth it. A great place to start is with LED or CFL lights to reduce energy usage while also lasting longer than regular bulbs. If you’re really looking to go green, install a programmable thermostat and set your home’s temperature within your financial means or on eco-mode to save even more on energy costs.
4. Buy Generic, Not Name-Brand
Sometimes it pays to be a label snob, other times it doesn’t. When it comes to trash bags, simple pantry items, and even snacks, going generic can be a simple and easy way to save a few bucks every trip you make.
5. Buy Quality Home Products that Will Last
If you’re looking to purchase new appliances, furniture, or other home products, it’s worth it to do a bit of research before purchasing. A reliable appliance may feel like a lot of money now, but you will significantly save money in the long run if you don’t have to repurchase the same item every five years.
When you’re looking to buy something new for your home, take a peek at the reviews; it doesn’t have to break the bank initially to save you money in the long-run, but consider budget-friendly home products such as kitchen utensils, vacuum cleaners, and mattresses that are built to last and stand the test of time.
6. Meal Prep
On average, an American household spends over $3000 a year on dining out. Can you think of other personal financial situations where $3000 would do some good?
It can be difficult to hold yourself back from dining out with your friends during lunch or taking your family out to dinner after work, but it’s worth it to plan out your meals so that you can have a healthy and savings-friendly meal. Meal prepping is great for meals and snacks alike, and is especially handy if you have a big road-trip planned. Skip the convenience stores and fast food lines by preparing snacks ahead of time. Added bonus: meal prepping is way healthier than dining out!
7. Sign-Up for Rewards Programs
It’s easy to sign-up for your local grocery store’s rewards program but be sure to utilize it to its full potential. Take use of their coupons and other deals as often as you can when shopping to watch that receipt start to shrink. This can be done either through signing-up with your email or by registering for a rewards card – either way, let the savings begin!
8. Cut Gas Consumption
Cut your cost of gas in half by carpooling with a neighbor or friend to work. If you don’t know of anyone who is going in the same direction as you but you’re still looking to reduce costs on your commute, consider public transportation instead. Taking the subway or a public bus will not only lower the amount of gas that you have to purchase, but it will also reduce the usual wear-and-tear on your own vehicle. Not to mention your risk of those unavoidable fender benders during rush-hour will be completely mitigated by using public transportation instead.
9. Maintain Your Car
We have all pushed our car’s limits by ignoring the lights on the dash that tell us when something is wrong. However, a very important aspect of owning a car is proper maintenance and can help you prevent surprise issues from popping up in the future. This includes getting your oil changed routinely, keeping your tires properly inflated, and keeping your engine in-check to make sure your car is running as efficiently as possible.
When your car is running properly and you don’t have to worry about random technical issues arising out of (seemingly) thin air, driving becomes a lot less stressful, and a lot more cost efficient.
10. Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
It’s not uncommon to feel like you’ve been tricked into an unnecessary cell phone plan that includes costly data plans, insurance, and unneeded warranties. Don’t be afraid to switch to a simple plan or provider that saves you money upfront – we don’t all need 50 GB of data per month!