5 Small Changes to Help You Save Money
Admittedly, most people’s money habits aren’t the best. Many are struggling with a pattern of overspending and undersaving.
If you want to improve your financial health, you need to start taking steps in the right direction. You don’t have to make drastic changes or huge sacrifices; you can start by focusing on little things that make a huge impact.
For most people, the hardest part is always getting started. The trick here is to avoid setting targets so high that you become overwhelmed even before you set off. Try to find small areas in which you can change. This will help create a lifelong habit of saving money.
Here are some of the areas you can focus on that require minimal effort but produce massive results.
Track Your Spending
Creating healthy financial habits starts with establishing where most of your money is going. Tracking your spending habits can help improve your finances.
You can better track your spending if you have a budget. A budget helps you to allocate your income to meet various expenses. The rule of thumb is to use the 50/30/20 method to help you spend your money on the right things and save up some as well.
Tracking your expenses manually can get exhausting and tiresome. Luckily, you can use budgeting apps such as PocketGuard, Clarity Money, Personal Capital, or Mint to make the process more straightforward.
After you link up the app with your accounts, all you’ll need to do is monitor your accounts to better understand how you spend. By doing so, you’ll spot your large spending areas and find a way to cut down on them.
For example, if you realize that your car insurance is the culprit taking a massive chunk of your money, find ways to cut your premium costs. Some of the solutions you may consider are switching to a cheaper provider, asking for higher deductibles, reducing coverage on older cars, taking advantage of low mileage discounts, and more.
The same goes for other utility bills like internet, phone, cable, renter’s insurance, etc. Find ways to get discounts or switch to cheaper providers. You may also consider bundling up certain services to save cash. Whatever works for you, go for it.
Also, when you discover where your money is getting wasted, find out why. Regardless of our money habits, we all have spending triggers. What makes you spend more than you should? Is it idle walks along boutique-lined streets, shopping with kids, or shopping while hungry? Whatever triggers you to do impulse buying, avoid those triggers to save cash for something more meaningful.
Get Rid of Memberships/Subscriptions You Never Utilize
A lot of people have subscriptions and memberships for countless things that they don’t utilize. However small that fee or charge may seem, it accumulates if you’re paying it for an extended period of time, and that money can add up to be lots of cash that you could use elsewhere.
List all of the subscriptions you have, and find out if you utilize them and whether they’re worth what you pay. Some of the most common examples of membership and subscription services include gym memberships, Hulu, SlingTV, cable, Amazon Prime, Sirius XM Radio, Birchbox, Stitch Fix, and more. Whatever subscription you have that you’re not using or is not making any impact in your life, get rid of it.
Do It Yourself
Most people rely on handypersons to fix things and to do specific tasks in their homes. If you quit relying on them and instead do it yourself, you could save a lot of cash in the long run. All you need is to learn new skills and fix stuff instead of spending your money on people to fix it for you.
Some of the tasks that you can do yourself to save money include:
- Washing your car. Instead of making that $10 investment to have your car cleaned, you could save up that money or use it for something else.
- Clean your gutters. You don’t have to pay that $100 to someone to wipe debris off your gutter. With just a garden hose, a ladder, and a pressure nozzle, you could get the work down on your own.
- Lawn care. Many people pay someone to cut their grass and trim tree branches in their homes. This is a job you can do swiftly and save some bucks.
- Do your own painting. Painting is one of the easiest jobs to do, and the tools required are pretty affordable. Why not perform the task in your free time and save some cash?
- Cook your meals. If you’re one of those people that spends a lot of cash on takeout orders and dining out regularly, what you don’t realize is that you’re wasting opportunities to save on something avoidable. Learn culinary skills and make your meals at home. You can save a lot if you just bake that cake or brew that coffee at home.
Buy Groceries in Bulk
Another way to save money is to buy pantry items and staple items in bulk. When you buy things in bulk, you save a few coins.
If you look at the cost per unit, you’ll realize that you spend a lot less if you buy more items in one go. When buying in small amounts, you’re most likely also paying for the additional packaging.
Also, this helps reduce the number of trips you make to the grocery store, saving you both gas and time. Plan your meals for a week in advance before you go shopping. By doing this, you’ll be able to know the items you’ll need during the week and buy them all on one trip.
Save on Household Bills
There are plenty of small changes that you can make at your home and save some money. These include:
- Adjusting your thermostat. The HVAC system is one of the most significant expenses for most households. If you have a programmable thermostat that you can adjust manually, change your temperature to save.
- Unplug your unused appliances. You could make a big difference if you unplug your house appliances when they are not in use.
- Take shorter showers. Taking shorter showers can help reduce the water bill significantly.
- Recycle stuff at home. Consider reusing certain items like containers or old fabrics, and consider repurposing scrap papers.
- Eat leftovers in your fridge. Instead of buying takeout orders, warm up what’s already available in your fridge.
Amanda is a senior financial copywriter at AdvanceSOS. She has more than six years of journalism experience, mostly in finance. She graduated with a Master’s degree in finance from the University of Oklahoma.