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.