Saving money is something that everyone likes to do. The whole point of creating a budget is to not spend money on things that aren’t important to you so that you still have money for the things that are important to you. You might think to make drastic changes to your life to save money, but the best way to save is to make simple changes to everyday activities. You’re much more likely to stick to it that way. To go along with National Savings Day, here are a few tricks that you can look at to save hundreds of dollars more each month.
Look At Your Subscriptions
One thing you can do is take a look at all of your monthly subscriptions. Mint has a built-in tool to help you manage and keep track of your monthly subscriptions. These subscriptions can be useful, but only if you are using them each month. It’s far too easy to sign up and then “forget” about your gym memberships, box subscriptions, streaming services or meal plans. Then you keep getting charged each month for things you’re no longer using. Take a look at all of the monthly subscriptions that you are paying for and figure out which ones you want to keep using.
Some subscriptions that you deem as “essential” (cell phone, utilities, cable or Internet) might be worth looking at. Many utilities and other similar services will allow you to renegotiate your bills. Just by calling them up, you might find a better plan or offer that allows you to save each month.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Another option to save money is to refinance your mortgage if you’re a homeowner. Whether or not refinancing will do you any goodwill depend on your home and overall situation. Interest rates are near historic lows, so you might be able to save hundreds of dollars each month on one of your highest monthly expenses.
Pay Off Your Debts
If you have medical, credit card, student loan, auto or other forms of consumer debt, you might be able to save money by paying down and/or eliminating some. It’s a good idea to keep some of your savings in an emergency fund, but if you have more than that in a checking or savings account, you’ll likely get more bang for your buck by using that money to pay down or eliminate your debt.
There are several debt repayment strategies available, including things like the debt snowball or debt avalanche methods. If you don’t have the savings yet to start eliminating these debts, that’s a good place to start directing your monthly savings. As you start saving more and more, you can use that money to pay down your debt.
Make a Meal Plan
Besides housing, food is one of the highest monthly expenditures for most people. A good way for many households to save money each month is to look at food expenses. Generally, the most expensive to eat will be eating out at restaurants. The next highest expense will be food delivery or meal prep services, and the cheapest way will be to buy your food at a grocery store and make your own meals.
Oftentimes, eating out rather than cooking dinner easiest option after a long hard day at work. If this sounds like your situation, one solution might be to make a meal plan on a weekly or monthly basis. That takes all the guesswork out of “what should I make for dinner?” since it’s already been decided. It can also help simplify regular trips to the grocery store.
Use Credit Card Rewards
Judicious usage of credit card rewards can be another great way to save money each month. As a caveat, if you have existing credit card debt or are struggling to pay your bills in full each month, it may make sense to focus on paying down your debt before considering credit card rewards. But if you’re already on solid financial footing, using credit card rewards can help earn extra cash back or travel rewards on purchases you’re already making.
The Bottom Line
Look to find small wins that are sustainable. Making these smaller changes on everyday expenses will add up over time and are easier to stick to over time. Take a look at some of these ideas and see if any of them make sense for you.
Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a site that helps families to travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids.