It is no secret that saving money is difficult. When you finally feel like you have started saving money, something always happens, whether it’s a trip to the ER or to the auto shop when your car breaks down. It’s not a good feeling when the money you were working so hard to save flies out the window. When quarantine is over, people are going to want to get the hell out of dodge. Here are a few money-saving tips to help you plan your post-quarantine vacation or to just pay the bills.
Tip#1: Save your change
This is a great tip, and it is actually super easy to do. Change can be super annoying and a hassle to carry around in your pocket. But think of it as a dollar bill. Would you just throw dollar bills on the ground or random places in your car? I know the answer for me would be no. Saving change is actually not that difficult and adds up quickly. Here is an example of what saving pennies looks like. On day one, you put one penny in a jar, on day two, you put two pennies in the jar and so on. In just one year you would save $667.95 in just pennies. I bet if you looked now, you have tons of change in your car or some place around the house. This would be a nice start to the challenge. If coin change is not your style, there is an alternative way to save your change with apps like Acorns and Chime. Both apps round your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts that added change in a special savings account for you. For instance, if your morning coffee is $2.40, the app will round that to $3.00 and put $0.60 cents in your special savings account.
Tip#2: Separate your needs & wants
In this day and age, we can buy anything we want with a click of a button. Thanks to online shopping, we can save our credit cards to stores’ websites, add to cart, submit, and boom it’s yours! This is something that is definitely a blessing and a burden on our bank accounts. Here is one way to break that down from wants and needs. When you get paid, take 50% of that check and put it towards your needs, which are things like groceries, bills, insurance, things of that nature. Next, take 30% and put that towards your wants. This is your fun money that can be used for anything – dinner dates, shopping, golfing, vacations, etc. Last, you would take the remaining 20% of that check and put it in your savings. Obviously, depending on your income, these percentages could vary. You might need more money to put towards your necessities, or you may need less. But these are good starting points if you aren’t an avid saver. I know this is something extremely difficult to do, and I struggle with separating my needs from wants, too. But down the road, you’ll be thankful you did.
Tip #3: 5 dollar challenge
This technique can help you save money quickly. Here’s an example. Let’s say you go to the grocery store to pick up bread, and you give the cashier a 20 dollar bill. The change you get back from the cashier includes some 5 dollar bills. Here is the challenge – you have to take those 5 dollar bills and put them in a jar, or wherever you stash your money at home. With this money-saving technique, you must have the mindset that $5 can’t be used for purchasing. If you save $15 a week with just 5 dollar bills, you’ll have saved $780 in one year.
Tip #4: Budget
The word budget can scare some people, but it’s easier than ever thanks to the Internet. Online budgeting apps are everywhere and will basically keep track of your money for you. One example is Mint. This app will actually show you graphic pictures of your budget, bills, and finance. If apps aren’t your thing, you can also keep track of your budget on your computer using Microsoft Excel. Budgeting can be stressful, so here are some general rules to abide by. First, don’t obsess. Don’t let this take over your daily life. Second, make it fun. Find fun creative ways to do budget, I mean it should be exciting you’re putting more money in the bank by saving. Third, be flexible. At times you will have to make cuts here and there but that’s okay just make sure you’re not overly doing it. This is supposed to help you manage your money better and save you more money in the future. It’s not meant for you to never have fun!
Tip #5: Pick the smarter option
This is something I struggle with daily. Let’s say you just went to the grocery store on Monday. Then, on Tuesday, you decide to go eat lunch at Subway. You only spend $10 at Subway that day. No big deal. But you commute to and form work, so you need to get gas. You go to the gas station and put in $25 worth of gas. You’ve only spent $35 that day, which isn’t a lot. But if you would’ve packed your lunch from the groceries you bought the day before, you would’ve only spent $25. The extra $10 saved can really add up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends approximately $3,365 on food outside of the home each year. That’s $280 per month! This was just one example of picking the smarter option and showing how it can save you money.
Budgeting and preparing money-saving plans are not easy and require some work. But the end results are why you keep doing them. These techniques help you pay off your house, buy a new care – whatever it may be. It will also allow you to live a happier, less stressful life. These aren’t all the ways to save money either. Maybe you have your own strategy for saving money that works for you such as cutting coupons before shopping. These are just five things to get you thinking about what you could do in order to save some extra money, especially throughout these troubling times!