Save Money: 3 Little Ways and 3 Big Ways

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated March 25, 2019

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A person counting money to symbolize investment decisions
Personal Finance
March 25, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

The majority of Americans save little to nothing. If you can relate, there are simple and effective money-saving behaviors that will allow you to save a little here and a lot there.

Starting today, be more mindful of the following three little and three big ways to save.

Saving money can be tough, especially when you don’t know where to begin. However, it’s important that you have some easy wins here and there, encouraging you to continue pushing your money-saving habits and routines. Start by implementing the following changes.

  1. Pack a lunch — This may seem like an overly simple concept, but if you’re spending $6 a day, that’s $30 a week — which is over $1500 a year. Start to develop habits that help you save $3 here and $5 there. For example, instead of purchasing a coffee on the way to work, make a travel mug of coffee instead.
  2. Stop impulsive spending — There are many ways to stop impulsive spending, starting with credit card access. Research has shown that those who shop with credit cards tend to spend more than those who shop with cash. After all, a $10,000 credit limit on plastic is a lot different than $30 cash in your wallet.
  3. Sign up for reward programs — Whether you collect points at your local supermarket or get rewarded at the drugstore, loyalty programs quickly add up. Also, when you go shopping, make a list and stick to it.

While it’s important to save small amounts here and there, sometimes you need to take more significant action in order to kickstart your long-term financial goals. When aiming to save big, be sure to do the following.

  1. Make a solid budget — Unfortunately, many people accumulate debt without even realizing how quickly their spending habits are impacting their financial goals. Starting today, write out all of your fixed costs (i.e. your mortgage payments, bills, and car payments). Then, designate x-amount for each category (i.e. food, transportation, savings, and other).
  2. Pay off your debt — Instead of buying a pair of shoes, use that extra income to pay off your credit card debt. Even if you carry a balance of $1,000 at an interest rate of 18 percent, that’s $180 you’re blowing each year. A reputable company like National Debt Relief can help you reach that goal. (Read our review to learn more about what they do.) Also, be sure to seek credit cards that reward you for making recurring purchases. The best credit card perks include not only cash back but other bonuses as well.
  3. Implement a 48-hour rule and 30-day rule — For small purchases, if they’re not a priority, wait for 48-hours before you commit. This is particularly the case if you enjoy online shopping. For larger purchases, think about your decision over the course of 30 days. By doing so, you’ll see begin to see what items are more of a “want” and which are more of a “need.”

At the end of the day, the more aware you are in regards to your spending, the more in control you’ll be. That is why you should save before you spend. After all, Warren Buffet said it best, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after savings.” Soon you’ll have enough to start investing and then you can really grow your money.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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