Let’s be real — saving money sometimes seems like an impossibly intimidating task, especially when living life is so expensive. Well, today we are going to go over just a few different methods that can help you kick start your saving habits and help you cut down on your spending. While none of these suggestions are a way to “get rich quick”, hard work and consistency with these methods can aid in saving up your hard earned money!
Set a budget
The first step to saving money is to actually understand how much money you earn in a month and where that money is going each month. To do this, you can either collect receipts for a month or look at your bank statements and make note of your different spending categories (i.e. restaurants, groceries, gas, personal care, etc). After this process, you will be able to clearly see where all of your money is going and be able to make note of which expenses are necessary and which ones are wasting your hard earned cash!
Stop the unnecessary spending
Are you still paying for that gym membership you signed up for in January but you haven’t been to the gym since February? Do you really need to be paying for that Teen Magazine subscription as a 25 year-old? More often than not, there are recurring bills happening that we can cut out of our monthly spending. Cancel the subscriptions to your unread magazines, remove the expense of that costly monthly subscription box that you end up tossing in the trash, and stop paying for that unused gym membership. The easiest way to save money is to cut out any unneeded expenses, allowing your money to stay in your wallet!
Free fun is the best fun
To save money on entertainment, check out local events in your community. Many neighborhoods have community calendars where there are plenty of free events for you and your family to enjoy. You can also visit your town’s library for endless access to books, dvds, and games to fill your free time with. Not only will this allow you to support your local community, but it will save you money by reducing frivolous spending on entertainment.
Do you need cable?
With so many subscription based streaming services, cable service is seemingly less and less necessary. Most of your favorite shows can be found online using services such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, or many other options. Cable is also extremely pricey in comparison to a combination of many of the alternative online services you could be paying for. Consider cutting your ties with cable to save money by signing up for an online streaming service. Many of them also offer some sort of free service or discount for your first month of use as well.
Eat at home
Eating out all the time can be a hefty expense for your finances in the long run. While eating out as an occasional treat is okay, frequent outings for lunch or dinner can become an expensive money waster. Instead of spending your money at restaurants and fast food joints, consider packing a lunch, making a homemade dinner, and eating your leftovers. Whereas eating out could cost you at least $10 per meal, there are many recipes online for budget planning that can cut it down to just a few dollars per meal if you choose to cook at home. Also, making your own coffee in the morning can instantly cut your spending for the week down exponentially. So, although that fancy coffee shop may be tasty and convenient, substituting that morning expense for coffee you made at home will keep those extra dollars in your pocket and add up to a large amount of savings at the end of the month.
Don’t think about saving. Do it automatically!
It is important to cut down your spending, but more importantly, you should put your extra money away to see any profit come from it. Look into opening a savings account that has minimal or non-existent fees. With the money you don’t spend, put it away into an interest bearing savings account so it can also make money while you put away money. Additionally, many institutions have a feature called something along the lines of “round-up”. At Community West Credit Union, we offer debit card round up which is a service that will round the total of your purchases made with your debit card for the day to the nearest dollar, putting that extra change into the account of your choice automatically.
Another way to save without putting much thought into it is to set up an automatic transfer from your spending account into your savings account. Some people set this up as a weekly transfer or an automatic transfer for every pay period. Either way, this is an easy way to start putting money away and see it add up without requiring too much effort and brain power to plan it out!
Saving can be difficult sometimes, but with proper planning and hard work, anyone can start building a helpful savings account. The tips above are just a few methods that people use to help them cut on spending and increase their savings. Plus, Community West Credit Union is here to help you along your savings journey and will happily assist you in your healthy financial habits. If you’re interested in opening an account with us, please visit your local CWCU branch. Happy savings!