When you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay off your debts, saving money can feel like an impossible pipe dream. But you’d be surprised how the small act of getting creative in finding ways to save money can pay off. Commit to better financial health with these five easy-to-follow habits:
Trim Your Food Bill
If you have taken a hard look at what you spend money on, chances are there’s food and drink involved in a big way. Food is one of the highest expenses in everyday American life — and it’s also one of the best areas to do some trimming. Download the app Ibotta to see the best days to grocery shop. For example, stock up on wine on Tuesdays to pay 4 percent less, save 1 percent on bread on Wednesdays, or save on snacks on Thursdays and produce on Fridays. Small savings can add up over the year.
Are you clipping coupons? You don’t have to be a grandmother to search out the best deals on everything before you buy. Scouring the Sunday newspaper, looking at ads for grocery stores, and checking manufacturer websites for savings can net you discounts you may not have known existed. Just be sure you only buy exactly what you need — don’t go for the deal, just because it’s a deal.
Stick to a Budget
One of the most basic ways to save money is to create a budget and stick to it. Sit down and add up everything you’re spending money on each month. Are you spending too much on clothing, food, entertainment or gifts? Make envelopes for each type of spending and limit the amount you spend for each. Take any leftover funds and put them in a savings account. Over time, you can see that savings account grow!
Get an App
There are many apps available for your smartphone to help you save money. Some, like Qapital or Acorns, take the change from your purchases and put them into a savings or investment account. Others, like Goodbudget and Mvelopes, create virtual “envelopes” that help you track all your spending and let you know when you’re reaching your monthly budgeting limit. Recording all your spending is a good way to stay mindful about your savings goals too.
Just Say No
It’s not always easy, but putting limits on your spending by simply saying “no” will make a big difference. If you buy coffee every day, say no two times a week. If you eat out three times a week, say no one of those times. When you go to the grocery store, put a few items back before getting to the checkout. If you want to buy two shirts, only buy one. At first, this habit feels like a painful restriction, but you are rewarded in the end with some impressive savings.