How would you like to save money without having to make more money? Sounds too good to be true right? Not necessarily. Here are some things you can do to see if you can start saving more today.
Analyze your finances
One of the first things I recommend everyone should do immediately, regardless of their financial circumstances, is to analyze their current spending. There are a few ways to do this, and here are some good ones:
- Personal Capital
With either of these two apps, you can link up all your accounts including your checking and savings, credit cards, stock portfolios, loans, etc. and get a near 100% accurate report on your money going in and out.
Step one to saving money is reducing or eliminating debt. Credit card debt may be costing you interest of up upwards of 20% . Sorry, but that’s just nauseating to think about.
If you have credit card debt, your first priority should be to pay it off ASAP!
You’d be lucky to get 20% annual returns from passive income sources such as stock market index fund ETFs, so this is not some sort of debt that you should be idle and content with.
Reducing high-interest payments is so critical to financial wellbeing. Imagine that you are on the precipice of a cliff because that’s the case with your finances., and you need to get away from it immediately.
Look at your spending habits (from when you analyzed your spending) and see where you’re way over budget. If you see yourself spending $500/month on clothes perhaps you need to cut back… like, waaaaay back .
Likewise, if you’re spending money on a lot of monthly services that you hardly use, try doing without.
Look around and see where you could stand to save. Here is a link to a personal budgeting spreadsheet that you can fill out with your own values to see if you are saving or losing money:
Download Spreadsheet (link in article below)
Food is often overlooked, yet it’s a crucial component of monthly budgeting and saving. The unknowing individual may think, “Hey, I’m not poor, I can eat out often, right?” Wrong!
Let’s say you’re just going out for “cheap” take-out and fast-food. A meal at McDonald’s might be around $5, and a Chipotle bowl or burrito may be around $7.50. On the surface, it doesn’t seem so bad, but let’s say you eat 3 times a day and between all your take out and whatnot, you average $20/day for food.
This doesn’t even include when you eat at restaurants. Maybe your average bill for one meal and drinks is $35, plus $15 for the other two meals which totals $50 for that day. Let’s say you eat at a restaurant twice a week ($50 x 2 = $100), and spend $20 for the other days ($20 x 5 = $100). That’s up to $200 per week or $800 a month for food!
Now hey, if you make a ton of money, then go ahead and spend a ton on food, this is America after all, you’re free to do as you please.
But if you want to reduce your monthly spending, try this:
- Cook at home more & eat out less
- Grocery shop responsibly
- Plan your meals out
- Aim for spending under $10/day ($300/month) on food
This can not only be great for your wallet but might also be great for your health, as take-out food is generally high in sodium and fat.
Other places to find savings:
- Car insurance. See if there are parts of your car insurance that you don’t need, and consider paying more out of pocket in the event of an accident to reduce your monthly premiums. Also, ask for any discounts, and consider shopping around for better deals.
- Cell phone payment. Cell phone plans start around $35/month or less for unlimited everything these days. Shop around, or threaten to leave your carrier for a better deal.
- Coffee. If you’re getting some fancy Starbucks drink every day, this is a great way to save $5/day by making your own gourmet coffee at home.
- Monthly subscriptions. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, HBO, Cable TV, etc. Ask yourself if you honestly NEED these things in your life, or if you could survive without them and save some money.
Save the rest
So we’ve covered some great ways to save money, but now what?
If you’re the type who is going to spend money if you have money, then it is in your best interests to get your newfound savings out of your checking account ASAP!
This is also a good idea because then you can put your money to work for you via passive income. Learn more about awesome ways to generate passive income in this article: Passive Income Ideas for 2018.