Saving money is a multifaceted process that involves more than just a piggy bank and any loose change you find in your sofa. The act of saving doesn’t need to feel like a punishment, either. If anything, you should look at saving as another way to make money for that new couch you’ve been eyeing, or your next trip to the beach.
Look at 2018 as the year of embracing budgets and fiscal responsibility with these five money saving tips.
Cable, TV, and Internet
Cable bundles can be costly. Consider what you pay for a cable package and ask yourself, do you really use all of those channels? If you’re serious about saving money, it might be time dropping a few hundred channels. You’d be surprised to find out how much you could save by downgrading to a smaller cable/TV package. On the other hand, you could take advantage of cheaper services, like Hulu and Netflix, as opposed to expensive cable bundles that give you services or channels you never use.
Trimming your expenses doesn’t have to mean going without. You just have to be a little thriftier when possible, and with the rise in online streaming, it’s become easier watching your favorite movies and shows without committing to a contract and pricey monthly payment. The same goes for your internet package. Are you paying for more bandwidth than you’re actually using?
Cellphone plans and data usage
Phones are another area of spending where sometimes the user is paying for more than they’re using, or they’re using more than they can afford. Data plans are finite and when you go over, you’re typically charged a costly fee, Avoiding contracts is another way to save as you won’t have to worry about early termination fees (if you want to switch carriers or cancel plans).
Prepaid phones beat your average smartphone on average savings. You pay for only what you need, and there are even newer models that can provide similar functionality to most other phones.
If you truly want to save when it comes to phone bills, watch your roaming and use Wi-Fi whenever possible. Using local wireless saves data so next time you want to stream something, connect to the Wi-Fi first and then go to town.
Car insurance isn’t always the first place people look when it comes time to saving on their monthly expenses. The truth is the majority of insurance holders are probably over spending on their policies—either directly or indirectly.
If you do any of the following, you could be causing yourself to overpay on your car insurance:
- Have a lower deductible
- Aren’t updating your policy regularly
- Taking advantage of discounts or bundling
- Or are driving poorly and accumulating fines and tickets
You could be making your insurance payments much smaller by practicing safer driving. Many companies offer ‘good driver’ rewards for drivers who go without getting tickets or avoid accidents over a certain period. Raising your deductible is another way to save in the event of an accident. If you can afford to pay $1,000 or more on your deductible, you could raise it, which would then lower your premium.
Understanding your policy and updating it is crucial for policyholders who are looking to cut costs and save money each month. As your car gets older, you may be able to drop some parts of your coverage and that would lower your premium, resulting in big savings.
Groceries and eating out
When it comes to spending related to groceries and dining out, tracking your expenses is the number one way to reduce extraneous spending. You can save big on food by eating out less or changing the brands you buy. Here are a few tips for saving at the grocery store:
- Always plan your grocery list out ahead of time. This gives you a kind of budget to work off. It also helps prevent you from overspending later if you forget something or didn’t buy enough to cover one of your meals during the week.
- Never shop while hungry. Going to the store for groceries when you’re stomach’s growling is a surefire way to end up with a lot more in your cart than what you planned for.
- Make bigger dinners. Bigger dinners yield leftovers, which can be eaten for lunch later in the week. This cuts back on the number of groceries you’ll buy overall.
It can be tempting to eat out for lunch and dinner. It’s more convenient and means less work for you. The problem is that you end up paying a lot more for that convenience. You have tips, surcharges, taxes, and other fees besides the cost of the food itself. Reducing the number of times you dine out can save you a lot of money in the short and long term. Not only that but cooking for yourself can be helpful in making sure you eat healthier. Preparing your own meals lets you see what goes into each one and you’ll avoid some of the less-than-healthy ingredients restaurants may opt for.
The best way to save money…is to save money! Setting aside any amount weekly or monthly will encourage you to form better budgeting habits, like saving. When you treat savings as you would any other bill, it becomes that much easier to save money for things you really need, or just that next family vacation. There are a few things you can do to make the savings process more efficient, and rewarding.
Using a high-yield savings account can give you the means to save money and benefit from it. If your bank offers it, you could have a percentage or dollar amount deducted from each paycheck and deposited into a separate account designated for savings. Having a different account for this purpose can remove the temptation to spend any extra money from your primary account, too. If you want to save money, then just do it!