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10 Ways to Save Money in 2024

June 10, 2024

Saving money or developing a savings fund is a common goal, but it isn’t always as easy as transferring funds. Most of the time, saving money requires hard work and careful planning to be able to set funds aside, especially with the cost of goods and services continuing to rise in 2024. Today we’re talking about practical and creative ways you can start saving money.

Ways You Can Start Saving More Money

We all understand that everything costs money, but there are small swaps and habits you can incorporate into your routine to help you stretch your funds and start saving. With enough discipline, motivation, and practice, you’ll be able to start putting money away regularly to grow your savings or emergency fund.

1. Create a Budget

Budgeting is an excellent way to understand and plan for your monthly income and expenses. You should start by monitoring your bills and other obligations, spending habits, and income for about 3-6 months. This will give you a good idea of the average money you have coming in and going out during any given month. You should also think about creating goals for things like increasing your income or decreasing your spending. You can also think about your savings goals. We recommend using the SMART method of goal setting. This framework helps keep you on track and accountable to yourself. We discuss this framework in more detail in our post on Financial Wellness. Then, you can start putting your budget together. Start with your monthly income, then detail your monthly expenses in terms of categories. These will be things like food/groceries, housing costs, entertainment, utilities, insurance, debt payments, etc. Consider the average amount you typically spend in each category, along with your goals, to give yourself a spending limit for each category during that month. Try your best to stick to your budget, but we all know life happens and things get in the way, so don’t forget to give yourself grace if overspending occurs. Perhaps you could shuffle funds from one of your other categories to care for these instances, but if not, there’s always next month!

Equipped with your monthly budget and an understanding of your current spending habits, you should be prepared to alter your spending to meet your savings goals. Think about where you might be able to cut costs in some categories (we give some suggestions and ideas below!), or how you might be able to earn additional income.

2. Be a Smart Shopper

Our shopping habits can be a great starting point for reducing costs. While many of us feel a sense of loyalty to brands we’ve been buying for years, often generic store-brands can provide essentially the same product and experience, so it’s wise to opt for these lower-cost options when you can. You can also try to buy used items rather than new ones. Check out thrift stores, swap meets, yard sales, local buy-nothing groups online and consignment stores or websites to get great deals on used products. Naturally, we don’t want EVERYTHING we get to be previously used, but you should try opting for these options where you can to get your costs down without impeding your lifestyle. The best part is, folks have been learning how to DIY and upcycle used items, so you can watch a few YouTube videos and give your “new” piece a fresh look to fit your aesthetic. Curb your impulse buying habits by sleeping on it for a day or two. Let the initial thrill of the great deal simmer for a bit, so you can think about it before you take the plunge and make the purchase. At the same time, you can leave items in your online shopping carts for a few days to a week and you might be sent some discount codes or other savings incentives to entice you to buy. This way, you still get the items you want, but you also get to save a few bucks.

3. Make Food at Home

Meal planning can be a great idea to avoid having to order out when you can’t decide what to make or don’t feel like making dinner after work. You should also aim to bring a list every time you grocery shop to keep you on track with your budget and help you avoid spending too much on impulse buys. Instead of going out to lunch every day, try to bring it from home. And, don’t forget to freeze leftovers for another day instead of throwing them (and your money!) away. I know, I know, we all love going out to eat and that DoorDash has been a life-saver more than once. And, you don’t have to cut these simple joys out of your life completely. First, try just to cut back. Perhaps you could plan to meet your colleagues out to lunch every Friday instead of every day, or you could plan those date nights out on the town to coincide with Happy Hour at your favorite restaurant, so you don’t have to pay as much as you typically would on an evening out. You could also aim to shop for local produce at farmers’ markets. These vendors tend to have flexibility to barter or offer lower prices than chain grocery stores (plus, who doesn’t love supporting local and meeting their neighbors?).

4. Simplify Saving

A simple way to start saving is choosing a single denomination, like $5 bills and save every single one that you get. You can do this by getting an envelope to hold the bills, or even something like a change jar. Similarly, you could choose to save all of your loose change. You can choose to “cash in” on your savings at the end of a period like a month or a year, when you need a little extra money, or when you’ve filled the jar or envelope. Simple saving hacks like this can be quickly and easily incorporated into your habits so they’ll become second nature.

5. Challenge Yourself to a “No-Spend” Day

A no-spend day is exactly what it sounds like—a day without spending even a cent unnecessarily. Yes, you should still pay your bills and make sure you have groceries (so maybe plan your no-spend day on a day when you don’t have any due). However, you should forgo your morning Starbucks, click out of Amazon, and tell your friends you’ll catch them for a drink next time. You can start simple by challenging yourself to have a no-spend day every month and eventually aim for one each week.

6. Reduce Waste in Your Home

There are lots of great ways to cut costs around the house. Aim to turn the water off when you’re not using it and turn lights out when you leave a room to avoid spending extra on these utilities. You can also make a habit of unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use for the same reason. Consider ways you can further weatherproof your house to avoid excess spending on heat and air conditioning—fill holes near doors and windows, hang curtains or blankets to keep sunlight and heat out during the summer. Avoid single-use items like paper towels that you’ll end up throwing away anyways. Instead, opt for reusable options like cloths, reusable water bottles and straws, etc.

7. Avoid Temptations from Your Inbox

Clear out your inbox by unsubscribing from promotional email lists. This can be a good practice to do on a monthly basis to help get your inbox cleaned up. We get so many emails each day and half the time we don’t remember signing up to receive them. Maybe you made a purchase 7 years ago or subscribed just to get a perk, either way, these notifications might not be serving you anymore, so it’s smart to take stock every once in a while and unsubscribe where you can. You should also disable notifications that encourage you to spend money. Push notifications, emails, texts, and other marketing outreach can entice us to spend money that we otherwise wouldn’t have, so it’s a good idea to eliminate the temptation. In a similar vein, take inventory of your subscriptions. There might be some you forgot about or maybe you’ve been meaning to cancel, but kept putting it off. Make a list of which subscriptions are active and decide whether you could live without it (even just for a while—some subscriptions may have an option for you to “pause” so you can take a month or more off without incurring the costs). Don’t allow websites and apps to store your payment information. This can help you make less purchases simply because getting off the couch to find your wallet is too much effort.

8. Open a Savings Account

A savings account is a great resource when you’re ready to start saving. This will give you a dedicated place to put funds away that you don’t intend to spend. And, most savings accounts accrue interest, so your money will grow without you even having to think about it! You can also get ahead on saving by automating this habit with scheduled recurring transfers into a savings account. Alternatively, you can make a habit of depositing a certain amount into your savings account on a regular basis. This could be $5 per week, $50 each paycheck, or another amount and schedule that works best for your lifestyle and needs.

9. Plan big purchases

Try to plan larger purchases like new furniture or appliances with annual sales. Think about things like Labor Day Sales, Summer Sales, etc. You should also try to track prices of the items you want over time so you can ensure that you’re actually getting a deal. Sometimes, businesses will hike prices right before putting items on “sale” so the sale price is the same price you actually would’ve paid two months ago, so be on the lookout. Similarly, you can plan to shop for clothes or other items around seasonal sales. Naturally, summer items will go on sale in the fall and winter as stores try to clear out stock, and the same goes for winter items in the spring and summer.

10. Leverage low-cost and free resources and events

Local events and resources can be a great way to build community and save some money. Consider taking your family to free events at your local parks or museums. Attend or form clubs to get yourself out of the house without having to spend money (aside from gas). Search the internet for free events in your area or use sites like EventBrite to find new opportunities. Rather than buying new books and splurging on a coffee at the cafe in the book shop, borrow the books you’re looking for from the library. Your local library can also be an excellent place to get out of the house and hangout without spending money. Meet up with your friends, surf the web, or consider attending an event to learn a new skill.

The Skinny on Savings

Saving money is not an easy feat, and it often takes a lot of determination and planning. However, there are all kinds of simple and easy swaps and actions you can incorporate into your daily and monthly routines that will add up over time. With many of these actions, you’ll be doing so much more than just saving money—from interacting with and supporting your local community members and institutions to supporting the environment with eco-friendly swaps that save to personal development with learning new skills, and so much more.

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