How to Save $500 This Month
While Americans have saved an unprecedented amount of cash during the pandemic, the world is opening back up — which means your wallet probably is, too.
Here are some ways you can sustain your savings by upwards of $500 a month, even as you re-enter more active levels of spending.
Go Through Your Subscriptions
Without even realizing it, you could be spending good chunks of change each month on services you might have subscribed to months, or even years, ago that slowly chip away at your bank account balance. Relatively small amounts for everyday services like Roku, Netflix, Spotify Premium, online workout classes and news services can easily add up to $50 or $100 dollars a month that you can reclaim.
You might have needed Spotify premium when you were commuting to an office everyday, but is that extra $10 dollars really necessary now that you’re mostly listening at home? Online fitness is an easy subscription to clear up as well, as almost anything can be found for free on YouTube. News services like Bloomberg charge $35 a month just to read their content — but with basic daily news literally everywhere you look online, this is an easy place to save. Pick one or two subscriptions you feel are essential for your needs and let the rest go.
Cash Back Credit Cards — Your New Best Friend
There are countless credit card options available that give you actual cash rewards just for using them. American Express has its Blue CashBack Everyday Card, for example, and Citibank has its CustomCash card. Some cash-back cards offer 2% cash back as a baseline, and others offer up to 5% on special categories of spending. Each time you use a cash-back card, you’re essentially saving whatever percentage that company offers on each purchase — as long as you pay off your balance each month.
Drop the Gym
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we can get by without going to the gym. At best, gyms can eat up about $20 a month, and at worst, upwards of $200. Canceling your membership is one of the easiest ways to cut back on spending.
Get Rid of Cable
If you haven’t already done so, getting rid of your cable TV service can save you upwards of $100 a month. With the majority of providers offering streaming services, cable TV seems outdated — and frankly, an unnecessary expense for the exorbitant amount of money it costs. Nixing the box can save you big time.
Check Your Investments
You likely pay constant attention to the funds in your investment portfolio, but what about the fees? You might have to speak with your fund administrator, 401(k) administrator or financial advisor for a clearer idea on what you’re being charged for, but fees can increase just like anything else. What’s more, the fees are often hidden to the investor, as it’s likely that you “set it and forget it” when it comes to managing the funds you’re in. Checking if the fees have increased can save you hundreds each year, if not per month, depending on how much you’re invested in.
This is the big one. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, average annual food-at-home prices rose 3.5% from 2019 to 2020. For context, this increase was 75% greater than the average increase, primarily due to shifts in consumption patterns and supply chain disruptions resulting from the pandemic. Meat prices rose most sharply, with an increase of a whopping 9.6%.
Although the numbers can be discouraging, they also present the greatest potential for you to save. Take advantage of your grocer’s coupons as well as online apps that search for coupons for you. If you can use big box stores for basic paper items you know you always need, even better. And ordering groceries online can help you avoid the temptation to buy unnecessary items you see in the stores. Just be sure to order only what you need, and only when it’s on sale.
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