Your savings goals may seem out of reach when you’re starting out. But small savings quickly adds up, and you can find yourself with more money at the end of a week or month and a fatter savings account by the end of the year.
Check out these ways to save money on everyday spending in order to build up a savings account.
Here are six ways to save money:
- Save on gasoline and groceries.
- Shop with a cash-back credit card.
- Cancel subscriptions you aren’t using.
- Stop paying for convenience.
- Set up automatic bill payments.
- Switch banking accounts.
1. Save on gasoline and groceries
Customer loyalty cards can save you money on gas and groceries, or at other retailers. Alternatively, to find the cheapest gasoline, check nearby prices using any number of apps, including Waze, GasBuddy and Gas Guru. Keep in mind that many of those prices are generated by users of the app, so they may be out-of-date. Try to consolidate trips to save on gas usage.
Save on groceries by cooking from scratch and avoiding most pre-packaged meals, which cost more. Shop at discount grocery stores and keep an eye out for the unit prices, which help you compare among items.
2. Shop with a cash-back credit card
Every little bit helps when it comes to saving. Instead of using a debit card that doesn’t reward you, consider using a cash-back credit card that puts money back in your pocket.
Some cash-back credit cards reward you more if you use it at a certain business category, such as a gas station, grocery store or restaurant. If you have one of these cards, make sure you’re using the one that gives you the most benefit at these venues and watch the cash back start to accumulate.
3. Cancel subscriptions you aren’t using
We’re turning into a nation of subscribers for everything from online streaming of music and movies, to online photo storage, to magazines. A simple and quick way to save money is to cancel subscriptions you don’t use.
If you use them but feel like you’re paying too much, try making a phone call. You may be able to negotiate a new rate for cable TV or internet service, or for subscriptions to newspapers and magazines.
4. Stop paying for convenience
Don’t pay $6 for a cup of coffee at a local cafe. Instead, brew a pot of coffee at home for a few pennies.
Whenever companies develop new, convenient products and services, people are all too willing to pay for them. Taking a little extra time out of your day to make your own food, brew your own coffee or clean and repair things around the house can fatten up your bank account quickly.
5. Set up automatic bill payments
With busy lives and busy schedules, it’s common for people to forget to pay some bills on time. One of the easiest ways to save money is to simply pay your bills when they’re due. Companies typically charge a 10 to 15 percent late fee for any balances that are overdue. While this might amount to just $5 here or $10 there, those fees quickly add up, especially if you pay multiple bills late.
Set up automatic payments for bills to ensure they’re paid on time and avoid the late fees. It’s important to keep an eye on your bank account balance to avoid overdrafts of the account and additional fees.
6. Switch banking accounts
Banks make a lot of money from fees, and many of the fees hit people who struggle to pay the bills month to month. However, you can avoid paying monthly service fees as long as you understand the strings attached. To avoid monthly recurring charges, you may need to carry a minimum balance, which can be lower for student or senior accounts, or seek out an account that has no minimum balance. You may need to receive electronic statements instead of paper, as well as make a certain amount of bank credit or debit card purchases every month.
Avoid paying other types of fees as well. The average bank and thrift overdraft fee is $33.23, according to a 2018 Bankrate study. You can opt-out of overdraft programs and their fees, and minimize the use of out-of-network ATMs by drawing cash at the grocery store or other retailers.
Some banks also will pay you a bonus for opening a new account. Check out Bankrate’s roundup of bank bonuses to see if you could score potentially hundreds of dollars for opening an account and meeting certain requirements.