January 23, 2023
Tagged As: Personal
As the last few years have shown us, you never know what tomorrow might hold in store. That’s why it’s a good idea to have savings. Saving money helps you create a stable financial foundation to reach your goals and prepare for the unexpected. Here are twenty ways to save money this year.
1. Put a small amount of money away each week or each paycheck: You probably won’t notice the missing amount each week – but as weeks turn into months, you’ll be amazed at how every little bit adds up!
2. Create a meal plan: When you’re not sure what you or your family will be having for dinner, it’s easy (and expensive) to fall into the habit of ordering take out. Plan your meals in advance to use ingredients you already have around the kitchen, take advantage of grocery store deals, and portion out food so that you can…
3. Take leftovers for lunch: Rather than eating out or purchasing separate prepackaged meals just for lunch all the time, get more out of your meal spending by separating out portions for lunch.
4. Track your expenses: Many people find they don’t actually know how much they spend on various items – until they start tracking it. There are a number of apps that track and categorize spending to give you an accurate picture of where your money is going, including the Manage My Finances tool within Hills Bank Online.
5. Create a budget… and stick to it: Once you’ve figured out where your money is going, the next step is to ask yourself where it should be going. Many of the same apps and tools used for tracking your expenses also include a budgeting component, and can even automatically create a budget for you based on your needs. Of course, the hard part is actually following your budget, but doing so is one of the best ways to build savings over time.
6. Round up purchases and save the extra change: When you don’t have to think about saving, it can be a lot easier to commit to it! You can make saving happen automatically with our Simple Change program. Each time you swipe your debit card, the total is rounded up to the nearest dollar amount, and the “change” is deposited into an account of your choice. With a few cents here and there, you’ll be building a rainy day fund faster than you might think.
7. Pay down high-interest debt if possible: Though no one likes paying the bills, reducing or eliminating debt with a high annual percentage rate (APR) will save you money over the long run. For most people, this is credit card and student loan debt.
8. Look into debt refinancing: You can also pay off long-term debt (such as car loans, student loan debt, mortgages and auto loans) years in advance by refinancing. Debt refinancing can lower your interest rate (typically in exchange for higher payments). You’ll pay more now, but by paying off loans faster, you’ll avoid accruing as much interest on the balance of the loan – which saves you money over time.
9. Contribute to your 401(k): If you work full-time, it’s a good idea to set aside some money from your paycheck for your 401(k) retirement plan, especially if your employer matches your contributions. Like paying down debt, you won’t see the savings immediately – but as your money compounds over time you’ll be glad you started saving when you did.
10. Wait before you buy: One tried and true way to save money is to create a “waiting period” for yourself on non-essential purchases. Some people recommend 30 days, but if that sounds too long, you might settle on a range between a week and a month. The key is wait long enough to truly determine whether you really need that new item, or if it’s just an impulse that passes with time.
11. Find coupons and special offers: Check your junk drawer for coupon books and promotions. Search for discount codes while doing online shopping. It costs you nothing to look for a better deal! However, you should be wary of “special offers” that require an additional purchase to receive a discount. If you have to spend money to save money, odds are you’re not really saving at all.
12. Sell things you no longer use: When the time for spring cleaning comes around, set aside the things that have been gathering dust and consider selling them in a garage sale, on sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, or to retailers that offer preowned goods. It can be hard to part with items once they’re back on the top of your mind, but ask yourself: if I haven’t thought about this thing in the last year, will I really end up missing it?
13. Build it/do it yourself: Consider yourself handy? Put your skills to the test by building the next piece of wooden furniture you would otherwise buy, or teach yourself how to solve common household issues instead of calling a professional. But beware of DIY overconfidence: if you’re working with a complex system or in a potentially dangerous situation, it’s better to fork over some cash rather than put your house or health in danger.
14. Reduce utility use: Take shorter showers, open windows instead of turning on air conditioning, turn the pilot light off in the gas-powered fireplace when not in use, and remember to power down electronics before leaving for work. You can also look into LED lightbulbs and other energy-efficient products to help you save over the long run.
15. Borrow, or buy secondhand: For items you may only need one time or infrequently, consider finding someone to borrow from, avoiding an expenditure and an unused item that clutters up your space. Even for things you might use regularly, it can be a good idea to look into used or secondhand purchases through websites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, or by asking friends. You can also shop local secondhand stores for books, video games, and more.
16. Earn while you spend with high-interest checking: Let’s face it: some spending is simply unavoidable. For those purchases, consider a high-yield checking account that can earn a high annual percentage yield (APY) on your account balance when certain deposit and withdrawal requirements are met. Click the link above for more details.
17. Take advantage of customer loyalty programs: If you find yourself shopping at the same stores, eating at the same restaurants, or enjoying recreational activities at the same places, it’s worth it to see if those companies offer loyalty programs to earn free or reduced price services. However, it’s also best to take a critical eye to your spending in these places: are you spending more than you need just to get a discount?
18. Enjoy a staycation: Airfare and lodging costs can eat into your savings faster than you can say “getaway vacation.” Consider a staycation instead! Odds are there are some attractions around your locale that you haven’t explored for a while, or at all, such as new restaurants, an amusement park, a museum, or an annual festival. Getting to sleep in your own bed at the end of the day is just the icing on the cake.
19. Visit the library: Companies like Amazon make it easy to purchase books with just a few clicks. But if you’re looking to save money, you might want to consider a trip to your local library instead. The libraries of today often provide free digital copies, audiobooks, and other forms of media to let you enjoy books in several formats; whether you’re reading or listening to them.
20. Open a savings account: We’ve saved the most obvious one for last. When you keep your money in a savings account, you not only don’t have to worry about losing it, you also earn interest on your balance. You can also consider special options like a certificate of deposit (CD).
Looking for an extra incentive to start saving? When you open a Savers Club account at Hills Bank, you’ll enjoy the convenience of predictable, automatic contributions each week for a year – and once you make your final payment, we’ll match it. Start saving for holiday presents, a new car, a down payment on a house… the options are endless!
To open an account with us, you can stop by any Hills Bank location, or you can open an account online by chatting with a banker using the “Chat Here!” button on the bottom of this page. We look forward to serving you!