If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that it’s essential that we save money, so we’re prepared for the unexpected. Between home expenses, groceries, and just everyday life, it can be incredibly difficult to save the amount you want. It’s something that I’ve been working on a lot over the past few years, so we’ve put together a list of nine easy tips to help you save more money this year.
1. Establish a budget
The first thing you need to do is set a budget for yourself and your household. If you don’t know how much you have coming in and how much you have to spend, you won’t know how much you have leftover each month. A budget will also help you analyze how you’re spending your money so you can make cuts where possible.
There are a lot of ways to track your budget. Personally, I use the free version of EveryDollar, but you can also write it down on a sheet of paper or record it in a spreadsheet.
2. Set a savings goal
I’m a big proponent of setting goals before starting any new venture, and saving money is no exception. Ask yourself why you’re saving money. Maybe you want to build up an emergency fund. Or perhaps you’re trying to save up for your dream vacation or a down payment on your first home.
After you’ve determined why you want to save more money, figure out how much you need to save. Then, decide how long you want it to take to get to that amount.
3. Save any extra income
Sometimes, we come into a few extra bucks that we weren’t necessarily expecting — a bonus from work, tax refund, or stimulus check. If you receive money that’s not in your typical monthly budget, consider putting it directly into your savings account.
4. Put extra money toward debt
Another option for that extra income is to put it toward any outstanding debt. This might seem like an odd option when you’re trying to save money. But as you decrease your debt, you’ll have more expendable income to put toward savings.
It’s also important to remember that if you’re only paying the minimum amount on any credit cards or loans, you’ll end up paying far more than the actual borrowed amount because of interest payments.
5. Shop around for insurance
When was the last time you requested a new quote for your car insurance or home insurance? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been a while. There’s a decent chance that your insurance bill has increased a little bit each year, so start shopping around to see if you can get a better deal by switching companies.
6. Wait at least 3 days before making a purchase
I am an impulse shopper. To help curb that bad habit, I try to wait at least three days before making a purchase. If I’m online shopping, I’ll put something in my cart and then step away for a few days. If I’m still thinking about it after that, I’ll buy it. Most of the time, I realize I don’t need whatever I was considering.
Read also: 30 Things We Want to Do in Our 30s
7. Unsubscribe from sales emails
Getting regular sales emails from your favorite stores makes it tempting to buy things you don’t need. The next time you receive one of those emails, consider scrolling down to the bottom and clicking “Unsubscribe.” You’ll stop getting them in your inbox and won’t be as tempted to shop.
8. Pack your lunch more often
If you work at an office (or away from your home), pack your lunch every day (or most days). Even if you’re eating out at a cheaper restaurant every day, that cost could add up quickly. You can save a lot of money by packing a lunch box.
If you work at home or if you’re a full-time homemaker, eating lunch at home throughout the week can also save you a lot.
9. Make a grocery list
If you have a list before going to the grocery store, you’ll be less likely to buy items you don’t need. (Plus, you can make sure you have plenty of options for lunch.) By creating a list before heading to the store, you’ll also have a chance to see what’s on sale and what coupons you can use.
Read also: 15 Grocery Shopping Tips We Live By