One of our editor's tips on saving money the easy way in 2017

Call it cliché, but every January I always find myself looking for ways to up my fitness game, cook more meals at home, and get organized. Saving money is another big one. It’s one of those resolutions we all make but very few of us end up keeping. But this year, instead of vowing to brown bag all my lunches or go on a 6-month shopping fast, I’ve found a handful of easy, totally realistic ways to save that I wanted to share with everyone. Here are five ways to save more money in 2017 without even thinking about it…

1. Enroll in Your Bank’s ‘Keep the Change’ Program

Most banks have ‘Keep the Change’ programs that you can opt into where every purchase you make from your checking account is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the change gets transferred to your savings account. You probably won’t miss a few nickels and dimes each time you swipe your debit card, making it an extremely easy and painless way to save. But even if you just use your debit card once a day with an average savings of 50 cents each time, you will have saved close to $200 by the end of the year without even thinking twice.

2. Schedule an Automatic Monthly Transfer to Your Savings Account

Chances are you already have plenty of automatic payments scheduled each month—from car payments to gym memberships to Netflix fees and beyond. So why not think of saving money the same way and schedule and automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account? Save as much as you can afford. If that’s only $50 a month, that’s still a fine start. But start to consider saving this designated amount just as important as paying any of your other monthly bills.

3. Don’t Cash Out Your Credit Card Cash Back

If you have a credit card that offers cash back on your purchases, it’s easy to get into the habit of cashing it out as soon as you reach the required minimum of $100 or $200. But what if instead of counting on this “free money” every couple months, you ignored it until it was enough for a big ticket item? I like to think of the cash back I earn as my vacation fun. I haven’t cashed mine out for over three years, and this year I will use it to pay for plane tickets to Hawaii for our family of three. In my opinion, that’s way more fun than an extra $100 here and there.

4. Cancel Recurring Fees You Don’t Need

Right now you might not even be thinking about the fact that you’re paying for monthly subscriptions to Spotify and Pandora or that you’ve only been using your gym membership twice a month since you became a SoulCycle aficionado. Take 10 minutes this month to look at all of your recurring payments and try to cut one or two that you can live without. Then add the amount the fee was costing you to your automatic monthly transfer to your savings!

5. Think ‘Add to Wish List’; Not ‘Add to Cart’

I’ve heard of people going on ‘shopping fasts’ where they vow to go a month or more without making any purchases other than groceries and other essential items. But for me, that’s just not realistic. I don’t go overboard, but I do like to make fun little purchases here and there, even when I know they are not things I need. So instead of claiming that I’m going to quit shopping completely, I’ve managed to curb my shopping habit a bit by keeping a Pinterest wish list of items I want. Every time I’m tempted to hit ‘add to cart,’ I add the item to my wish list first. This ensures that I sleep on every item I buy instead of making impulse purchases. Only if I am still thinking about an item a day or two later, will I actually buy it.

Do you have any tips to add to my list? What are your favorite easy ways to save money?

Share your own advice below.

xo Ilana
Team LC

Photo: The Little Market via Instagram
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  • Shevy Bee

    Great tips. One of my main goals this year is to save a certain amount of money.

    http://www.travelbeautyblog.com

  • Love this! My tip is to make a strict budget and stick to it or consider challenging yourself to a no spend month 🙂

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk

  • a.j.

    1. Sign up for Digit (digit.co), which looks at your spending and sweeps any extra money it thinks you can afford into a no-interest savings account. (You can withdraw it whenever and put it in an interest-bearing savings account every month if you’d like.) I’ve been using it for 2 years now and I’ve saved $1500 that I probably would have just left sitting in a checking account. They have a guarantee where if your Digit withdrawals cause you to overdraw your account, they’ll refund you.
    2. I maintain 2 checking accounts. I call one “Bills” and it’s where my direct deposit goes. I also keep a Google Calendar of all my bills. Every payday I open the calendar and see what is coming due in the next 2 weeks (I get paid every other Friday.) For bills that are the same every month, I have those on auto pay, but for ones that change (like utilities) I pay them manually so I know what I’m using.* This means bill paying takes maybe 5 minutes every 2 weeks. As mentioned in #2 in the article, I have an automatic savings plan to an online savings account (meaning it’s harder to access and I’m less likely to rob it.) After subtracting all my auto savings and bills coming due, I transfer the rest to a checking account called “Spending”. That way there is no risk in me accidentally spending the mortgage payment–I know exactly what I have for the next 2 weeks.
    3. One of my auto savings plans is a gift fund. I listed out all the birthdays that I usually buy gifts for for each month, plus how much I usually spend on family/friends for Christmas. I figured out how much I’d need to save each month. This is especially helpful at Christmas when you’re buying a lot of gifts at once.

    *When I was living in my first apartment on my own, my utility company accidentally billed me $600. My apartment was 600 sq. ft. I’d had to have run a tanning salon out of there to use that much power. Also at that time a wrong $600 would have definitely made me overdraw. So that’s why I don’t have it on auto pay.

    • D Sol

      wow! these tips are great! definitely gonna give them a try
      thansks a.j!

  • Cassidy Short

    Great tips! Love the Keep the Change program idea, and adding items to a Pinterest board instead of buying them so quickly 🙂

    xoxo
    Cassidy

    http://heartofgoldandglitter.blogspot.com/2017/01/home-in-2017.html

  • Kimberly L

    These are great tips for saving! Saving can be hard, especially when hard times hit, but little things (like the keep the change program) are small and easy ways that can have huge benefits in the end. Thanks for sharing!

  • Leah Kauffman

    Wow. I really gotta do step 1

  • Samantha Lee

    Also cutting out coffees from coffee shops! I LOVE getting my cup in the morning, but it was getting so expensive. So for Christmas I got a Nespresso, and in a few weeks time, it will already be worth the investment. 🙂
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  • These are such great tips! Impulse purchases are a struggle for me too. I just give myself 72 hours, and if I still want it, then I get it. xo Devon Seventeen Dresses

  • Love these ideas! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

  • Love the idea of not cashing out your credit card cash back – I think I’m going to implement this myself! Thank you! 🙂

    Diana | http://www.thechicdiary.com

  • I like the idea of Add to Wish List rather than cart! I need to do that more.

    Something that I read once that has stayed with me is if you have a goal for example a house or a holiday, stick a little picture of it in your wallet. That way every time you open your wallet your reminder for why you should be saving will be right there 🙂

    The Western Sydney Girl

  • Such good tips! I think we all would like some extra cash 🙂

    Cat // https://fromgirlc.wordpress.com

  • Thank you so much for sharing all of these super helpful tips! For the new year, it’s always good to start out strong and create some habits that will benefit us in the long run! 🙂

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • Love the “add to wish list” – helps curb those spending splurges!

    Cassidy x
    http://www.theglamgreengirl.com

  • Love this post, especially agree with treating yourself and being realistic! I l just posted a post on ‘Budgeting Tips’ on: https://mypaletrend.wordpress.com/

  • I’m not sure we have a ‘Keep the Change’ programme here in the UK but that’s such a clever idea! ♥

    Amy // snippetsofamy.co.uk

    • Madeleine Josefine

      Same here in Germany. This is a great way though! Someone should suggest it to the banks 🙂

  • “Adding to wishlist” instead of “add to cart” is a great idea! I don’t have a keep the change program, but $1 per debit card swipe is transferred into my savings. Also, signing up for a savings account with a bank like Barclays gives you back a whole 1% interest…way more than most banks! I’ve found that doing a weekly transfer of funds into savings instead of monthly is also helpful 🙂

  • Bilingual Girl

    I really found this post interesting, I would love to see more posts about finances here and there! 🙂
    http://www.thebilingualblog.wordpress.com