How to save money each month
Saving money isn’t easy. It’s not just about creating a savings plan; it’s about committing to your plan with strong will and patience. However, the work you put in will be worth the effort when your budget is back on track.
Before you can begin saving, you must identify the unnecessary areas in your spending to maintain your lifestyle.
The grocery store is a great start when you’re cutting back on spending. We purchase so many things to sustain ourselves every week that these costs seem unchangeable, but the truth is you can make a significant dent in your savings goals if you shop smart!
Before you even enter the store, you can do some planning to limit your spending. For example, consider putting together a specific weekly meal plan or a budget-conscious shopping list. Once you’ve done that, you can take things further by seeking coupon deals to use at the check-out counter!
When you’re making your food selections, note the use-by/sell-by dates on the packaging. A “use-by” date shows the latest date you should ingest the food, while a “sell-by” date simply indicates the date by which the food should be sold. You’ll still have time afterward to store and eat it. Be aware of these dates to maximize the time you have to eat your food before returning to the store.
Also, don’t forget to consider buying generics. Brand names are fantastic without a doubt, but you can almost always find a comparable generic product for a lower price. Sometimes the generics are even made by brand name companies – just relabeled. Other times generics beat the brand names in blind taste tests.
Take a look at your subscriptions. Are you still using them all frequently? Studies show that 85% of US households have a video subscription service and that the average consumer spends more than double what they thought they were spending on their current plans.
Streaming services for TV or movies are common subscriptions that people have these days, but do you really need them all? It may be possible to unsubscribe to the one that you use the least. Additionally, many streaming services now offer great bundled options.
Another subscription to consider is a gym membership. Do you use all of the facilities in your gym, or do you feel like you’re paying for things you’ll never use? You can always shop around the area for a new gym that provides greater value at a lower price.
3. Monthly bills
Be sure to look at your bills carefully. Do you feel like you’re spending an appropriate amount? It may be possible to cut costs by turning down the thermostat for when you’re away from home or setting it to a lower temp while sleeping. The same is true with cutting back on water usage or unplugging electrical appliances when not in use.
You also have the option to contact your gas or electric vendor to inquire about any savings tips, and bill negotiating apps are another great way of becoming aware of your spending habits. By making yourself aware of the rates and schedules that your spending follows, you’ll be able to optimize your own utility usage, putting more money back in your pocket.
Another way to cut down on personal spending is to limit your entertainment budget. How many shows do you usually see each month? How many times do you go out to eat? (Yes, that counts as entertainment too). Once you’re aware of habits in this area, you can begin to make a plan. Perhaps you can limit yourself to one live show each month or a spending limit for restaurant visits.
Further, you could also find less expensive options to entertain yourself. There are usually cheaper options for live music (check out your local bar scene), or cheaper restaurants to support. Even though they’re not your first choice, you’ll be receiving comparable experiences without making the same impact on your bank account.
5. Budget goals
Creating a smart budgeting plan with daily, weekly, and monthly benchmarks is a great way to stay on track with your savings goals – and there are many tactics you can implement to do so:
First, you can set up automatic monthly payments to your savings account in order to maintain a regular payment schedule. This way, you’ll continue building your savings without forgetting to transfer money each month.
You can also plan for occasional “no spend” days on your calendar to ensure that you’re keeping money in your wallet. “No spend” challenges are quite common for people who have monthly spending goals.
There are many ways you can save money each month – but a crucial first step is to open a separate savings account, so you have a special place for all the money you’ve saved. This is a good way to visualize progress and may keep you motivated to stay on track. Want to talk with a financial expert? Schedule an appointment today to discuss your budget and savings options.