How and When to Save Money

Posted on: 03/24/2020 at 9:00 a.m.

Saving money is a critical financial strategy for people of all ages. But most of us think we can’t save, and so we don’t. Think about it. Instead of putting off paying for a new outfit or iPhone, we buy it now — with credit — and then pay it off later. Then we get into debt, which in turn, can take away our income.

If you want to be financially free, it’s essential to save money. And you don’t have to make a grand gesture to get started. Check out these six practical ways to start saving money today:

Get out of debt. One of the biggest obstacles to saving money is debt. One of the fastest ways to pay off your debt is to incorporate the snowball method — pay your debts off from the smallest to the largest. That way, you can feel like you’ve achieved your goals and you’ll have more money to pay down more significant debt. 

Save money automatically. Set up an automatic transfer from your paycheck or checking account to your savings account — and then don’t touch that money. Maybe you can save $10 a paycheck or $100. Whatever you can do to get started, that’s fine. It’s all about developing a positive savings habit. Eventually, you’ll want to try to save 10% of each paycheck.

Do things yourself. Instead of paying someone to fix your cars or make upgrades to your home, do it yourself. Something as simple as changing the oil in your car yourself can save hundreds of dollars over time. If you’re concerned about doing things yourself, find a friend to help or shop around. 

Eat at home. One of the easiest ways to cut down your expenses is to eat at home more often. Think about your week. How many times do you go out to lunch or dinner? Even if you only eat out once or twice a week, that’s $50–$100 you could have put to better use. Maybe it’s time to bring your lunch to work every day or learn ways to cook new and unique things at home. You may also want to use grocery pickup (most grocery stores offer this service). While you may pay a fee to use the service, it will keep you from potentially buying more than you need — your budget will thank you in the long run. 

Review your annual subscriptions and premiums. Another simple way to start saving is to negotiate a better price for any subscription or premium you pay either monthly or annually. If you don’t use something you subscribe to often, maybe it’s time to get rid of it. You may also want to look at whether or not you need cable — can you get along without it?

Use increased income wisely. Let’s say you get a promotion or bonus at work. How can you use those extra funds best? Or maybe you get a big tax refund or obtain an inheritance — what should you do with all that extra cash? First of all, if you have student loans or credit card debt, use that money to pay them off. Once you’ve paid off your debt, then think about using this extra cash to build an emergency fund or add to your retirement accounts. While this is just a start (and there are many other things you can do), it all begins and ends with a budget. You need to be intentional about saving, and a budget will help you do that.

Learn more about savings accounts at