Small Ways to Save Big

This year, for us, is all about saving more and spending less. We’re finally starting to feel settled after a rollercoaster of a year last year, so we feel more comfortable setting new goals more aligned with our needs and financial abilities. We really want to focus more on rebuilding our savings, since our bank account took a bit of a hit with our first home purchase. Not only do we want to have enough saved for emergencies, but we want to make sure we keep our other goals in mind – things like vacations, home repairs/maintenance, baby needs, and building a new home somewhere down the line. While I’d love to take a bigger chunk out of my paycheck and devote it solely to my savings account, it’s just not possible with my current income and financial obligations. I’ve tried to find small ways of cutting back costs in order to direct that money back to me, and my husband is starting to pick up on my habits. Together, we’re being more frugal and thoughtful, and we’re already being rewarded with the benefits of this. They don’t have to be drastic changes – it might just be trimming corners on things you already do to save money! Check out a few suggestions below for ideas to begin with…

  • Pack a lunch instead of going out on your break (even if it’s only a few days per week).
  • Cook more often instead of dining out.
  • Take advantage of public transportation, or bike for the added exercise benefit.
  • Grocery shop at budget-friendly stores. Only buy what you need and use coupons when fitting. Don’t forget to choose generic over name-brand and price-compare!
  • Reassess service providers (cable, internet, phone, insurance) and see if you can get a reduced rate for cutting unnecessary services or switching providers (or simply just because you asked!).
  • Cancel your cable and watch your favorite shows online.
  • Make sure your home is energy-efficient – switch out your lightbulbs, turn lights off when not in use, turn down your thermostat, or hang-dry your clothes instead of using the dryer.
  • Ditch bottled water and opt for a filter for your tap.
  • DIY! Make your own gifts, cleaning products, etc.
  • Be aware of extra fees – extra charges from your bank, ATM withdrawals, on online purchases, etc. (i.e. think “service fees,” or costs that are added on to your bill in addition to your original purchase and taxes).
  • Monitor your bank account for any unusual charges.
  • Cut back on junk food and soda. You’ll save money AND improve your health.
  • Buy things used or upcycle your old stuff to make it feel new again.
  • Borrow special clothing items or accessories from a friend instead of buying new outfits for special occasions.
  • Find workouts you can do at home instead of paying for a gym membership, or compare prices at different locations that would fit your needs.
  • Do a Google search for deals or coupons before making a purchase.
  • Borrow books and magazines from the library instead of paying for a subscription.
  • Make your own coffee in to-go cups instead of stopping on your way to work.
  • Rent movies instead of going to the theater, or check for discount/bargain days or hours.
  • Explore your neighborhood or community for free activities.
  • If traveling, check for deals on discount sites, such as TravelZoo, LivingSocial, or Groupon.
  • Book trips early to allow yourself time to pay over a longer period, instead of spending a large amount upfront.
  • Try to fit your things in a carry-on instead of checking a bag.
  • Travel during the off-season.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no! You don’t have to attend every happy hour or night out.
  • Keep track of your money!

Are you great at saving, or do you need a little boost? What motivates you to be smarter about your spending?