Daily Tweaks to Help You Save

Small changes in your everyday behaviors can make a big difference.

In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko shared results of a study of single-digit millionaires, people with net worth of $1 to 10 million. In many cases, these wealthy people came from poor to middle class families. They worked, earned and saved to become millionaires.

Many of the millionaires in the study didn’t drive fancy cars; they bought reliable cars and kept them running for many years. They didn’t dress extravagantly; they purchased decent, non-designer clothing and were very comfortable. They lived in modest homes, not mansions. They bought only what they could afford and generally paid off their credit card balances every month.

A young couple saves money by shopping sensibly

These millionaires weren’t gifted with rich families and they didn’t win the lottery. Instead, they worked hard to preserve and add to their savings. While not everyone can become a millionaire, the lessons from the study show that saving money over time can help you achieve your financial goals. Here are a few ways to help you rethink how you save money.

Start with a budget

Create a realistic budget and try to stay within it. Develop the motivation to ask, “Do I really need to spend this money now?” Remember that any money you don’t spend puts you that much closer to meeting your savings goals. Get started on creating a budget with three things in mind:

  • Know what you earn vs. what you spend
  • Make savings a priority
  • Be flexible

While credit cards, debit cards, ATMs and online services make transactions easier, they also remove barriers to spend. Unnecessary purchases are easy to make with the speed and prevalence of cashless payments, and impulse buying can be a big contributor to overspending a budget. To stay on budget, force yourself to wait a few days to see if you really need that handbag or new smartphone. If not, put this money toward savings.

A family enjoys an evening at home rather than spending extravagantly on entertainment

Small savings add up

To build savings, you don’t have to cut out all entertainment with a price tag, but you may need to develop an attitude of frugality in everyday activities. If you can get a similar experience for less money and make a habit of it, you’re making progress towards your savings goals. Here are a few examples:

Movies. In 2017, the average cost of a movie ticket nationwide was $8.97. For a family of 4, the cost is $35.88. Compare that to a streaming-only subscription that gives you unlimited streaming of movies and shows starting at $7.99 a month. Even if you only stream a single movie a month, you’re still spending less than a quarter you would spend at the theater, and that doesn’t even include the popcorn.

Books. If you’re an avid reader, you might want to reconsider all the books you’re buying with so many less expensive alternatives. Local library cards, in addition to checking out books and audio books, are usually free. If the local library doesn’t have enough of a selection, you can always rent books for less from online retailers, or you can subscribe to audiobook streaming services.

Making coffee at home is an easy way to cut back on your daily spending

Coffee. While small food items like coffee may seem insignificant, smarter consumption can save you a lot of money in the long run. Specialty drinks like vanilla lattes are much more expensive than a regular cup of coffee or even brewing it at home. If coffee is your go-to drink, you may want to consider these alternatives – especially if you buy it a few times a week.

Any one of these choices alone may not seem like much, but added together, the daily savings can total thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars a year. As you go through your daily activities, develop the skills and willpower to determine a more frugal, yet satisfying alternative.

Banking 101

How to Recover From Being Scammed: Take These Proactive Steps

Experts share tips on what to do if you’ve been scammed out of money and how to protect yourself in the future.

Read Article
This is How CDs Work—and How You Can Use Them to Grow Your Savings

Say hello to
cash back on debit
card purchases.

No monthly fees.
No balance requirements.
No, really.

See Details

Discover Bank, Member FDIC


A Financial Vision Board: How to Create One to Make Your Life Goals a Reality

Learn the four essential steps to creating your own financial vision board from the experts who wrote the book on it.

Read Article


Family Finance

Banking for Busy Parents: 4 Essential Checking Account Features

You earned it.
Now earn more with it.

Online savings with no minimum balance.

Start Saving

Discover Bank, Member FDIC


5 Questions to Ask Before Repairing or Replacing an Appliance

Appliances on the fritz? Ask these questions before you call the repairman or head to the store.

Read Article


Considering a 401(k) Hardship Withdrawal? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re thinking of withdrawing money from your 401(k), it’s important to understand if you’re eligible, how the process works and what the potential downsides are before tapping into retirement savings.*

Read Article