How To Save Money: 12 Tips To Build Your Savings

Close up of man holding pink piggybank while woman putting coin in it.
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Saving money is something everyone knows they should be doing, but many simply don’t. Why? According to CNBC, many people don’t save money because they feel like they don’t have any money to save or they simply don’t know where to start.

Perhaps that’s why you may be asking questions like, “What are five tricks to save money?” or “How can I save $10,000 per year?” Don’t worry, below are 12 methods to save money that, combined, could put up to $10,000 per year in your savings account

How To Save Money: 12 Ways

Whether you think you don’t have any money to save, you don’t know where to start or you’ve convinced yourself you’re simply not a saver, think again. There are always opportunities to save. Here are 12 to consider.

  1. Make a grocery list
  2. Cook your meals at home
  3. Buy store brands
  4. Find ways to cut unnecessary spending
  5. Transfer credit card balances
  6. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
  7. Follow the 30-day rule
  8. Refinance your mortgage
  9. Use a budgeting app
  10. Cut utility expenses
  11. Stop wasting food
  12. Follow the 50/30/20 rule

1. Make a Grocery List

Americans throw away about 119 billion pounds of food per year, totaling a whopping $408 billion. If you constantly throw away food, you’re throwing money in the trash. One way to curb this waste is to create a grocery list. 

Start by planning your meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — for the entire pay period. Once you have your meals planned, make a shopping list that includes all of your ingredients. Doing so will help you make sure you don’t buy too much, but you have what you need for the meals you intend to cook.  

2. Cook Your Meals at Home

It is common knowledge that eating out can be more expensive than cooking at home. Making more of an effort to eat at home is an easy way to add some savings to your bank account.

Make Your Money Work for You

3. Buy Store Brands

Store brands may not have the most appealing labels, but the products are similar to — if not exactly the same as — popular brands. For example, you’ll find that off-brand medications have the same active ingredients as on-brand medications. Switching to the store brand for medications and other products can add some change to your piggy bank. 

4. Find Ways To Cut Unnecessary Spending

The average person pays about $83 per month for cable services. If you got the basic packages at Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max, you’d pay a total of $36 per month. That alone is a savings of $47 per month. What other unnecessary spending could you cut out of your budget and turn into savings?  

5. Transfer Credit Card Balances

High-interest credit card debt gets expensive quickly, but if you have good credit, you don’t have to pay high interest. Consider signing up for a zero-interest balance transfer credit card. This could save you on interest expenses for up to 21 months, saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the process. 

6. Shop the Outsides of the Store

Have you ever noticed that the items on the outside edge of the grocery store are fresh? These are fresh meats, veggies and all other ingredients you need to make great meals at home. This is where you should shop. Not only can avoiding pre-packaged meals help you on your journey to learn how to save money, but it could also have a positive impact on your health.

Make Your Money Work for You

7. Follow the 30-Day Rule

Have you ever wondered, “What is the 30-day rule?” This rule was designed to help you and others avoid costly impulse buys. The rule is simple. When you see something new you want, wait 30 days to buy it. If you still want it after 30 days, go for it. It will likely surprise you how many items you’ll forgo if you give yourself 30 days to think about them. 

8. Refinance Your Mortgage

Do you have a high mortgage payment? You may have purchased your home at a time when interest rates were high. Even if you didn’t, your beginning balance is a determining factor in your mortgage payment amount. Refinancing may result in a lower interest rate, and if you’ve paid off a significant portion of your home, you may end up with lower payments even if your interest rate doesn’t fall.  

9. Use a Budgeting App

Let’s face it: some people just haven’t learned how to budget, and that’s OK. Budgeting isn’t something they teach in grade school. If you have a hard time finding money for savings, consider using a budgeting app like MintGoodbudget or EveryDollar to take control of your money.  

10. Cut Utility Expenses

The simple act of turning off your lights when you’re not using them can add meaningful dollars to your savings over the course of a year. You could add to this savings by turning your thermostat up or down one degree depending on the weather outside or turning it off completely when you’re at work. These are just a couple of ways to save money. You can find tons of other ways to save on your utility expenses when you think outside of the box.  

Make Your Money Work for You

11. Stop Wasting Food

Create a meal plan and stick to your shopping list to avoid throwing your food and money away. Put your savings in your piggy bank for safekeeping.  

12. Follow the 50/30/20 Rule

Wondering what the 50/30/20 rule is and if it can work for you? The premise is simple. Use 50% of your income for necessities, 30% for wants and 20% for savings. Although you may need to make some lifestyle changes to stick to this, it’s well worth the effort in the long run. 

Final Take

The bottom line is simple. Learning how to save money may be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, the savings you’ll build are rewarding. Try your hand at some of these ways to save and watch your bank account grow. 

Vance Cariaga contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of April 17, 2023. 

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.


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