Stashing cash sounds like a no-brainer. Just cut expenses and put the surplus into your piggy bank or savings account — right?
But let’s face it, the temptation of goodies everywhere: From trendy eateries and entertainment events to flashy gadgets and clothes, can drain our wallets in no time.
Unfortunately, trying to keep up with the Joneses is a surefire way to deplete your funds faster than you can say “credit card debt.” To be on the safe side, you must learn how to be thrifty through creativity in spending and saving.
Below, we’ll highlight some ingenious ways to help you build your nest egg to help you move toward your financial goals without feeling deprived.
A 2019 Modern Wealth Index Survey by Schwab reveals that 59% of American adults live paycheck to paycheck, with their spending habits influenced mainly by social media and FOMO (fear of missing out).
It’s a sobering statistic — but one that can be addressed with the following strategic budgeting and clever ways to save money.
Use Accrue Savings for big purchases
Big-ticket items like home appliances, furniture, and gadgets can take a hefty bite out of your wallet. Instead of draining your bank account in one shot, you could opt to spread the cost of your purchase over several months and avoid interest payments.
Accrue Savings is a financial technology app that allows you to set aside a small amount each month until you’ve saved enough to pay for an item without breaking the bank. This “save now, buy later” strategy gives you greater control over your spending.
The process is simple: you create your savings plan, fund your wallet, earn money-saving rewards from your favorite brands, and purchase the item once you’ve saved enough.
Depending on your budget, you can choose from five to 15 payments, saving $1 a week to $100 a day based on your flexibility.
Pay yourself first
Do you pay your credit card bills, rent, and other expenses before you put money aside for savings? It’s a common move for many people — but it can cost you dearly.
The concept of “paying yourself first” is a financial strategy that means prioritizing saving and allotting part of your funds to your savings account before settling other bills and expenses.
So, how do you pay yourself first?
Adapt the 50/30/20 budgeting rule: Allocate 50% of your income to essentials like rent, mortgage, food, and minimum debt repayment; 30% for lifestyle and leisure, including subscriptions, shopping, and dining out; and 20% to your savings account.
Simplify the process by setting up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account — more on this in the next section.
Use technology and automate as much as possible
You’re busy, and juggling finances on top of everything else can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, technology has come a long way and you can use automation to remove the time-consuming manual element of saving.
Lean on financial technology apps to schedule regular transfers, set up automatic bill payments, and even round up your purchases to the nearest dollar. These apps are designed to make budgeting easier, helping you stick to your money-saving goals. Set a specific amount and a transfer cadence and watch your savings grow!
Start a high-yield savings account
High-yield savings accounts offer higher-than-average interest rates (usually around 10-12%) than a standard savings account’s national average of 0.39% APY (annual percentage yield).
The rise of online banks and credit unions has made it easier to find competitive rates. Shop around and compare options to find the most suitable high-yield savings account. Look for perks like low-fee accounts, low minimum deposits, unlimited withdrawals, and ATM access.
If you’re using the high-yield savings account as an emergency fund, ensure you have at least six months’ worth of living expenses saved up.
Food and drink spending is a significant expense for millions of Americans, topping 10% of their income.
According to research by The Ascent, Americans spend about $691 on food every month, with two-thirds of it ($438) going to groceries and the rest on eating out.
We’ve got to eat — but let’s explore some creative ways to lower your food and drink expenses without compromising nutrition!
Plan your meals ahead of time
Meal prepping is a great way to avoid impulse buying and save money. Take some time every weekend to plan your weekly meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Check your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what ingredients you already have, then create a shopping list for the grocery store. Create meals that combine low-cost ingredients and can also be eaten as leftovers.
Buy groceries in bulk
Bulk grocery shopping is cheaper than single-item purchases, allowing you to take advantage of discounts and wholesale prices. You also won’t need to make frequent trips to the grocery store.
Buy larger quantities of non-perishable items like grains, nuts, dried fruits, spices, canned goods, rice, and beans. If you have enough freezer space, stock up on frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Keep track of pricing for items you buy frequently, and look out for coupons, store specials, and discounts on those products. When the price is low, that’s when to buy — one for now and one for later is a good rule of thumb.
Pack your lunch
Rather than spending money on take out for lunch every day, consider packing your own meal. If you are short on time, prepare meals in advance and freeze them or keep them in the fridge until the day-of.
There are a ton of simple, delicious lunch ideas online that can elevate your lunch game from cold cuts. Not only are homemade lunches cheaper than fast food, they’re often more filling!
And of course, don’t underestimate leftovers: At the start of the week, make a double batch of dinner and save the leftovers in reusable containers for your lunches.
Take advantage of happy hours
Restaurants, bars, and pubs usually offer discounted prices on drinks and food during happy hours to bring in more customers. Check out local restaurants and pubs, find out when they have their happy hours, and plan a night out with friends or family members.
You can check their website and sign up for their newsletter to get notifications whenever they have specials or discounts.
Recurring monthly expenses like rent, utility bills, insurance, loan repayments, and subscription services likely account for a large portion of your monthly budget.
While these expenses aren’t quite as easy to eliminate, it does help to stay up-to-date on saving and spending trends to cushion your finances and avoid overspending.
You can also save a significant chunk of money every month when you adopt the following money-saving tips:
Shop around for new home, auto, or health insurance
Insurance providers are always trying to out-compete each other for new customers by offering better deals. When your insurance policy is up for renewal, get quotes from multiple companies for the same coverage and compare prices.
Check the financial rating, customer reviews, coverage limits, and the company’s track record in terms of claims. You can also bundle your home, auto, and health insurance with the same company for a discount. Read the fine print carefully, as some companies have hidden costs.
Cancel monthly subscriptions you aren’t using
Unsubscribe from monthly subscriptions that you rarely use, like streaming services, gym membership, Amazon Prime, and paid news subscriptions.
It’s easy to accumulate multiple monthly subscriptions over time without realizing it. Review your bank statements regularly to check for subscriptions you can do without and cancel them. Alternatively, switch to a lower-priced plan or opt for the annual subscription instead of monthly payments.
Install energy efficient appliances
Upgrade your home with new energy-efficient appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners. Energy Star-certified appliances use up to 30% less energy than standard models and can potentially save you about $450 annually on utility bills.
You can also reduce your electricity costs by investing in LED lighting, installing programmable thermostats, and air-sealing your home.
Pay more than minimum on debt
Student loans, car loans, mortgages, and credit card debt come with high-interest rates that can stretch out your repayment period and cost you more in the long run.
Instead of paying only the minimum amounts on your debt each month, consider chipping in extra to reduce the principal amount and pay your debt off faster. This will help you save on interest and free up more money for other expenses.
You can also negotiate with your creditors for a lower interest rate or consider debt consolidation or refinancing. Maxing out your credit cards every month will only lead to a mountain of debt, so practice self-control and stay away from impulse purchases. You can apply for a cash back credit card that offers rewards and discounts when used responsibly.
Start saving today with Accrue Savings
Saving money toward your financial goals may seem daunting, but with the right strategies, creativity, and discipline, you can watch your savings account grow in no time. Adopt clever budgeting tips such as paying yourself first, automating your savings, and starting a high-yield savings account.
Planning your meals, bulk buying, packing your lunch, and taking advantage of happy hours will increase the amount of money you channel toward savings. You can further save extra cash on recurring expenses and accelerate your savings by shopping around for better deals, installing energy-efficient appliances, and canceling unnecessary subscriptions.
Accrue Savings helps you effortlessly save money by allowing you to make small deposits toward big-ticket items instead of paying upfront. Our intelligent technology charts your savings goals and enables you to track your progress while offering rewards to keep you motivated.
Let Accrue Savings be your savings-powered payment solution: Register for a free account today!