Saving money can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With some simple lifestyle changes, you can find yourself with extra cash in your wallet each month. Here are six easy habits that will help you start saving today.
Make a Budget and Stick to It
The first step to saving is knowing where your money is going. Make a detailed budget that outlines your monthly income and expenses. Be sure to account for everything, including groceries, gas, entertainment, clothing, and bills. Once you have your budget, commit to following it each month. Tracking your spending will help identify areas where you can cut back. Apps like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB) can automate the process for you. Set a goal to save a certain percentage of your income each month and treat it like any other expense.
Pay with Cash
Using cash instead of cards helps reinforce spending discipline. The physical act of handing over bills makes you more aware of what you’re spending. Cash also helps curb impulse purchases. Commit to using cash for everyday expenses like coffee, groceries, or lunches out. You’ll be surprised how the small amounts add up over time. Use your debit card or credit card only for essential, planned expenses.
You can find coupons and discount codes for everyday items such as skin care products, clothing, or food staples. Make it a habit to check deals sites or your favorite brands’ Facebook pages. Sign up for newsletters from your most-shopped stores to receive coupons and sale alerts. Also, consider shopping at dollar stores or discount grocery stores for certain items. Buy generics over name brands, too, since they are essentially the same product. Finally, follow a meal plan and shopping list to avoid impulse purchases at the grocery store.
Eating out is usually far pricier than cooking at home. Get into the routine of meal prepping a few days per week. Make big batches of grains and proteins that you can turn into multiple meals. Soups, stews, and chilis tend to store and reheat well. Building up a repertoire of go-to meals that are simple and inexpensive can take cooking at home from chore to habit. Bringing your lunch to work can easily save $50 or more each month.
Cut Back on Streaming Services
Cable bills are one of the first places people tend to overspend. Re-evaluate your TV and entertainment costs. With so many streaming options available, you likely don’t need every premium channel. Can you cut back your cable package or eliminate it entirely? Streaming services add up too but are usually far cheaper. Pick 1-3 that have the content you want.
Pay Down Debt
Credit card and loan interest can snowball, making debt an endless money pit. Create a debt payoff plan targeting high interest accounts first. Pay more than the minimum each month. Once one account is paid off, focus on the next. As you pay down your debt, redirect those payments into savings. Having an emergency fund helps avoid taking on new debt. Consider balance transfer cards that offer 0% interest for a set time. Reduce expenses to allocate more towards paying off debt quickly.
Building these spending and savings habits takes time, but they can become second nature. A few small changes each day will add up over months and years. Consistency and dedication are key. Use apps or online communities to set challenges and hold yourself accountable. Saving money frees up more choices in how you spend your time and resources. Follow these simple daily habits now to lay the groundwork for financial freedom.