How To Save a Little Each Month (It Goes a Long Way)
Day 5: GOBankingRates wants to help you Live Richer. For a month, we’ll be sharing daily tips for how you can do just that, with advice on budgeting, saving, investing, making the most of your career and managing debt — plus money advice for every phase of your life. Check back each day during our 31 Days of Living Richer to learn everything you need to know to set yourself up for financial success and live the richest life possible.
You may have some ambitious savings goals — perhaps you are aiming to have six months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund, want to plump up your kids’ college savings or maybe you’re just saving for your dream vacation. No matter what your goal is, it’s easier to get there when you make a conscious effort to save a little bit every month rather than being overly ambitious and aiming to save up a lot of money in a short period of time. After all, if you’re not realistic about how you will save, chances are you won’t stick to your plan.
Day 4 of Living Richer: How To Live Richer on a Budget
Read: What It Means To Live a Truly Rich Life and How To Achieve It
Here are six ways to save a little each month — and even if it doesn’t feel like you’re saving a lot, every little bit you save gets you closer and closer to your ultimate goal.
Reevaluate Your Subscriptions
“Unused memberships and subscriptions can cost you hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars a year,” said Brian Walsh, senior manager of financial planning at SoFi. “Automatic renewals might make your life easier, but eventually, people forget that they have that $30 per month gym membership or $15 per month streaming service that they never use.”
Take a look at all of your monthly subscriptions and cancel the ones you don’t use. For every subscription you cancel, put that monthly fee directly into your savings. You were already used to spending that money each month, so you won’t miss having it in your checking account.
And Check Out Day 3 of Living Richer: 5 Budgeting Apps That Can Help You Live Richer
Cut Down on Discretionary Spending
Some of your monthly expenses are essential and fixed, but you may be spending more than you realize on “nice-to-haves” — things like dinners out, coffee shop lattes and new shoes. It’s definitely OK to have fun with your money, but cutting back on these expenses can help you pad your savings. For example, if you’re used to buying fancy lattes five days a week, consider cutting down to twice a week and stashing that extra cash into your savings account.
There are now numerous ways to access store coupons so there’s no excuse to not use them! Check any old-fashioned paper flyers you receive, coupon apps and sites like Ibotta and Groupon, plus any store apps to find coupons before making your purchases. Any cash you save can be redirected into your savings.
Shop With Cash-Back Credit Cards
Making purchases you normally would with a cash-back credit card automatically saves you money on every purchase — and that 1% or 2% can really add up over time. Pay attention to categories where you may get extra cash back and be sure to put those extra funds into a savings account.
Automate Your Savings
Once you’ve figured out how much money you can dedicate to savings every month, set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account. This way you’re sure to stay on track without any effort.
Find Extra Sources of Income
One of the best ways to save more is to earn more — and this doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Pick up an occasional side gig such as ride-share driving or dog walking, or find extra income in your own home by decluttering and selling off anything you don’t need.
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Barb Nefer contributed to the reporting for this article.
Last updated: July 5, 2021