Saving money isn’t a difficult concept, but it’s not always easy to execute. After all, life happens, and unexpected costs can make saving money a challenge. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
By paying attention to your finances and staying true to your budget, you can save money without having to put in too much energy. In this article, we share six easy ways you can put aside money to become more financially stable.
1. Reassess Your Subscriptions
If you’re trying to save money, the first thing you should do is review your bank statements. Spend some time looking at where your money goes each month, and pay attention to any recurring expenses.
One thing you can keep an eye on is your subscription services. Make a list of how many subscriptions you are enrolled in and how many of them are duplicate services. See which ones offer you the best service and which ones you actively use.
Since subscriptions cost as little as $10 a month, chances are you might have some you aren’t even aware of. If that’s the case, this is the perfect time to unsubscribe. Ten bucks a month might not sound like a lot, but it can quickly add up.
2. Use Budgeting Apps
You use technology to communicate with friends, family, shop, eat, etc. So why not use technology to help you save money? There are several apps available that can manage your money for you. These apps connect to your credit and debit cards and track your spending habits. Some of them will create a budget, automatically set aside money, pay bills, and more. A few options include:
- Mint. This free budget tracker will help you better understand how you spend money and how you can improve your spending habits.
- You Need A Budget (YNAB). By taking a close look at your spending habits, YNAB builds a budget for you.
- PocketGuard. This app organizes your everyday expenses into categories so you can keep track of what’s going where.
3. Download Shopping Apps
Other apps can help you save money when you’re shopping. Whether buying clothes or groceries, you can use these money-saving apps to make sure you’re getting the best deals. Some offer cash back, and some will find discounts/coupons to apply to your order. A few options include:
- Capital One Shopping. This app automatically checks for online coupons and finds better prices and deals for you.
- Honey. This browser extension ferrets out deals and coupons for the items you’re about to pay and applies them for you at checkout.
- Swagbucks. With this app, you get paid to take surveys and shop at your favorite stores. You’ll receive the money via Swagbucks points, which can be redeemed for gift cards or cash.
4. Automate Your Savings
According to a 2019 survey from Bankrate.com, 21% of Americans struggle to save money. The truth is, there are several reasons why people don’t save. One reason being, they just don’t. Whether due to forgetfulness or a complete lack of interest, 16% of adults admitted they don’t save because they “haven’t gotten to it.” This was especially true of Millennials.
Sure, setting aside money can feel like a chore. But the longer you put it off, the less money you’ll have saved. A good way to take the hassle out of saving is through automation. Instead of relying on your memory, set up an automatic transfer.
With this option, a certain amount of money will automatically be taken from your checking account and put in savings. You can set up exactly how much you want to be withdrawn and when. For example, you could set up your automatic transfer on paydays so you don’t have to worry about it.
5. Turn Down Your Thermostat
According to research, for every degree you turn down your thermostat, you can save between 1% and 3% off your heating bill. Not only does this save you money, but it does so without causing you much inconvenience. Realistically, does one degree make a difference during the winter? Probably not.
However, if you find yourself cold, consider some alternatives to warm yourself up. Layered clothing and extra blankets will allow you to lower your thermostat and stay warm at the same time. Also, check for any gaps in the doors and windows of your house and apply weatherstripping or caulk. These gaps could allow warm air to escape and cause your thermostat to work harder than necessary.
6. Reduce Your AC Use
What about during the summer months? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, households in the United States spend over $100 a month on electricity bills between June–August. But there’s good news: There are ways to lower how much you spend.
Consider a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is like a normal thermostat, except you can control it via your phone, iPad, computer, etc. For example, if you’re away from your house during the day, you can turn your AC off (or up several degrees). When you’re on your way back home, simply turn the AC back down via your phone so it’s cool when you walk inside the door.
Turn on the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a great way to cool your home while also lowering your air conditioning bill. When a fan is running alongside an air conditioner, it can potentially cool down your home by as much as four degrees. Running your ceiling fan with — or instead of — your air conditioner can save you big money.
Keep the Blinds Closed
Close your blinds during the day, so you can keep the sun out and reduce solar heat gain. The more the interior temperature rises, the harder your air conditioner will work, and the higher your bill will be. By keeping rooms shaded, you can reverse that effect.
It’s true, spending money is more fun — and quite a bit easier — than saving it. But the only way to improve your financial status is by putting money aside. Regardless of your age, it’s important to start saving. Whether for your retirement, a trip overseas, or an emergency fund, having extra funds is never a bad idea. Luckily, the tips above will help you save and plan for a brighter future.