I’m definitely more of a saver over a spender. I like nice things but I get more of a thrill out of saving money. Confession: I’m an Excel nerd. I maintain a pretty intense budget spreadsheet and I get excited to update it each month. But budgeting and saving money doesn’t have to be complicated! There are ways for even the biggest spender to save.
Some of my favorite ways to save money are:
- Savings Apps
This is by far my favorite small way to save. There are several apps you can use that link to your bank account and automate your savings for you based on goals or rules that you set. My favorite app is Qapital, but there are others available. I have my Qapital set up to round up my purchase to the nearest dollar each time I use my card, and to automatically save $5 everytime I visit my guilty pleasure that I am supposed to be staying away from… Chick-Fil-A.
- Savings Challenges
A fun way to save is to try a savings challenges. You’ve probably heard of the 52 weeks challenge where you strategically save a certain amount each week of the year (week 1= $1, week 2= $2, week 3= $3, and so on). You can put a twist on this challenge by doing it in reverse so that the larger amounts don’t coincide with the expensive holiday season, or you can pick a number between 1-52 each week until you have done them all. Other ideas are the $5 savings challenge- saving every $5 bill you encounter or the 365 penny challenge- saving an additional penny every day of the year leaving you with $668 saved after a year.
- Automated Savings
Out of sight, out of mind. If you have your savings set up to transfer automatically when you are paid or in set intervals, you don’t have to worry about having the discipline to make the transfer. You can take this a step farther and have this money transfer to an account you don’t have a debit card for, making it even more difficult for you to access it on a whim.
- Sinking Funds
Plan ahead and create sinking funds. A sinking fund is a way to strategically set aside a certain amount monthly for a one time or irregular expense. This is not an emergency fund, this is money you expect to spend. Some common sinking fund categories are: holidays, travel, gifts, insurance, car or home maintenance, yearly fees or pet needs.
Oftentimes, we are forced to treat certain occurrences as emergencies because we didn’t have the savings set aside for an expected expense, but these are not emergencies. Emergencies are unforeseen and unavoidable occurrences. Holidays and regular maintenance for example are not emergencies. By using sinking funds, you can be better prepared. You can create a sinking fund by determining how much you want saved for a given expense and then divide it based on a set schedule, such as monthly or how many pay dates before the event. For example, if I know I need to save $300 for a registration fee due in 6 months, I will need to set aside $50 each month.
Other savings tips
Other ways to save that won’t necessarily add dollars to your account but are ways you can cut back:
- Coupon. I’m not saying you have to be an extreme couponer, BUT it doesn’t hurt to search for a coupon code before making a purchase or checking a sales circular as you plan your shopping trips.
- Buy and sell second hand. I love thrifting, and whether it’s clothing or furniture, I don’t mind a hand me down. You can also try decluttering some of your own stuff and selling it to make some extra cash.
- Plan ahead. This is major for me. I find that I spend the most money when I wait until the last minute to make a purchase. So try planning ahead as much as you can. I shop for gifts throughout the year and purchase things I know I will need whenever they are on sale.
- Stay home. I don’t know about you but it feels like every time I leave my house I spend too much money. If this is you too, try staying home more.
- Get an accountability partner. Find someone that can hold you accountable to your goals. You can plan together and keep each other on track. I find it harder to stray from my plans when I feel like I will let someone down or have to confess that I slipped up.
Are you a saver? What are your saving tips?