You’ve just taken the America Saves Pledge, or perhaps you simply need some inspiration for ways to save your money — either way, we’re glad you’re here. Buckle up! It’s about to get REAL around here as we share 54 ideas to save some dinero. Let’s dive in by first establishing some general savings ideas to get you #ThinkingLikeASaver.
General Savings Tips
1. An emergency fund is a must. Chances are you’ve already been told that you need an emergency fund somewhere in the ballpark of three to six months of your income. Yikes! Overwhelming, right? At America Saves, our motto is ‘Start Small. Think Big.’ In keeping with that, we recommend starting with an emergency fund savings goal of just $500. Learn more about emergency funds here.
2. Establish your budget. The best way to jumpstart establishing a budget is to realize your spending habits. On the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase throughout the month. Stack the receipts into categories like restaurants, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month you will be able to clearly see where your money is going. Additionally, your bank or credit union may have this as an online-banking feature. Seeing what you spend in total on food, shopping, etc. can be humbling!
3. Budget with cash and envelopes. If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budget system where you use a set amount of cash for most spending. And once the cash is gone, it’s gone. Learn more about the envelope budget system here.
4. Don’t just save money, save for your future. There IS a difference!. As you begin to #ThinkLikeASaver, don’t simply spend less. Save with a purpose, such as college expenses, retirement, or for emergencies. Learn more about what you should be saving for here.
If you’ve taken the America Saves pledge, you’ve already chosen a savings goal which means you’re ahead of the savings curve!
5. Save automatically. Setting up automatic savings is the easiest and most effective way to save, and it puts extra cash out of sight and out of mind. Automatic savings means you have a process in place to save at regular intervals, whether that’s monthly, weekly, or daily.
Instruct your employer to direct a certain amount from your paycheck each pay period and transfer it to a retirement or savings account (or both). Traditionally, you can set this up using your employer’s direct deposit, ask your HR representative for more details and set this up today.
If you don’t have an employer or maybe your sources of income vary, check out our other strategies to save automatically.