Open an online savings account in a few easy steps
- Fill out the application
- Choose an individual or joint account
- Designate beneficiaries
- Fund the account if it’s required
In theory, saving money is easy—just cut back on the amount you spend on impulse buys and voila! You’re saving cash left and right. But in reality, it gets a little more complicated.
Between gas and groceries, clothes and car payments, there are lots of demands on your hard-earned dollars. No wonder it can feel easier to spend money than save it. Luckily, even when it seems like there’s always another bill to pay or purchase to make, there are ways to make saving less daunting.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What are easy ways to save money I can start today?” check out these 11 money-saving hacks to set you on the path to crushing your financial goals:
When you’re looking for easy ways to save money, you need to start by looking at your spending. Do you know where your money is going? If you don’t, a budget is the place to begin. With a budget, you can plan exactly how much you’ll spend on bills and discretionary purchases each month—and just as important, you’ll be able to plan how much you’ll save each month, too.
For Greg Johnson, co-founder of personal finance blog Club Thrifty, creating and sticking to a budget allowed him and his wife to get out of debt and on a path to saving for their future.
At the time, the couple were stressed about money and were overspending. They started using a zero-sum budget, which enabled them to account for every dollar they earned and spent. The budget noted how much money was going toward all of their expenses, like housing and utilities, transportation and food. It also made them account for how much they contributed to their savings each month.
“Creating a budget really forces you to be very purposeful and very intentional about how you’re saving and spending money,” Johnson says. The Johnsons’ zero-sum budget helped them pay down $50,000 of debt within two years, and they continue to use a budget to grow their savings.
Whether you try the zero-sum method, the envelope budget or another money-saving hack, the important thing is that you start planning where your money will go.
With a budget, you can do more with your paycheck, Johnson says. But he admits that a spending plan can feel restrictive or limiting. That’s why it’s important that your budget includes a set amount of money for nonessential expenses.
“You have to treat yourself every once in a while,” he says.
Whether it’s ordering takeout from your favorite Thai place or buying a set of earrings from an online boutique, this money-saving hack can keep you motivated to stick with your spending plan.
Once you have a budget in place that accounts for life’s necessities and little luxuries, you’re off to a great start. But you also need to check in on your progress. Johnson recommends taking five or 10 minutes at the end of each week to see if you’re on track.
Compare your actual spending to your planned budget, Johnson says, and ask yourself the following questions:
As you answer these questions, you’ll gain a better sense of how your real-life spending is fitting into your desired budget. You’ll also learn how your budget can be better optimized to make progress toward your financial goals and uncover easy ways to save money.
Keep in mind that budgets can change over time, especially after big life events. If you’ve landed a new job or added a member to your family, for example, be sure to update your budget and spending accordingly.
It can take a little time, but it feels great once you get into a budgeting and savings groove. That can be the perfect opportunity to set a stretch goal—an ambitious savings target that supports a meaningful aspiration.
For example, you may decide you want to save $12,000 this year for a down payment on a house. That may sound daunting, but you could break it down into monthly amounts of $1,000. Go even further and think of it as $500 per bimonthly paycheck. All of a sudden, that challenge begins to feel within reach.
“Even if you come up short—let’s say you only save $8,000 this year—well, you know what? You did a great job,” Johnson says. “You didn’t quite reach your stretch goal, but it pushed you to save even more than you would have otherwise with a more achievable goal.”
If you’re looking for a stretch goal, Johnson recommends building up an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs that you didn’t account for in your budget. As he learned the hard way, it’s challenging to meet your savings goals if you’re derailed by an unexpected expense—like the time his car broke down on the way home from vacation. Learn how to start an emergency fund to keep your budget and savings goals on track.
When you’re looking for easy ways to save money every day, don’t overlook the power of multiple online savings accounts.
Start by opening a new online savings account specifically for your stretch goal. This money-saving hack has two main benefits:
Many people have more than one long-term goal they want to save for. As you build up your stretch-goal online savings account, you can identify other financial goals that deserve their own dedicated accounts.
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Automating your savings is another easy way to save money.
Take a look at your budget to see how much you’re planning to save from each paycheck. Then, schedule an automatic transfer from your checking account to your online savings account to occur each time you get paid.
“That’s going to be an easy way to start building your savings,” Johnson says. “Once you set up the automatic transfer, it just does it for you, so you don’t even really have to think about it.”
You’ll be more likely to stick with your savings plan when it’s automated, Johnson adds.
Saving is a numbers game, and you can win that game with this easy way to save money. Instead of transferring a large amount of money into your online savings account once or twice a year, make saving a regular habit with smaller, more frequent contributions.
You could make deposits into your online savings account daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly, for example. This way, you can still hit your biggest savings goals without feeling the weight of large withdrawals from your checking account. Need to save $500 in a month? Put away $125 each week. Want to hit an annual savings goal of $1,000? Run the math and that’s roughly $83 per month.
No matter how much or how often you save, the trick is to stick to a consistent schedule. With this money-saving hack, you’ll see your savings steadily increase over time.
“Creating a budget really forces you to be very purposeful and very intentional about how you’re saving and spending money.”
Paying attention to interest rates can mean big savings. Be sure to understand why the federal funds rate matters for consumers and consider these money-saving hacks for either a low- or high-rate environment:
For some homeowners, a mortgage is their biggest bill of the month.
When rates go down, refinancing your mortgage may be a savvy money move, Johnson says, because it can allow you to lock in a new, lower interest rate. As a result, you may be able to cut down the total amount of your mortgage payments over time and/or shorten the term of your loan.
If this sounds like a good option for you, keep in mind that there may be fees or other costs associated with refinancing. Do your research to see if now’s the time for this money-saving hack, as even a small mortgage rate reduction can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a month in payments.
To give your savings a boost, cash in on the benefits of high interest rates. A high-interest-rate environment can benefit anyone with an online savings account, certificate of deposit, money market account or interest-bearing checking account. That’s because these accounts will typically provide greater returns thanks to higher rates, making for an easy way to save money every day.
If you’re looking for a money-saving hack while freeing up space around your home, gather all the things you no longer need and put them up for sale—from that winter coat that no longer fits to that toaster that’s taking up too much counter space.
Online marketplaces on social media are a great way to get the word out, so snap some pictures and post your items for sale. You could also try a local consignment shop. While this easy way to save money may cost you some of your free time, you can use the extra earnings to help fund your stretch goal.
This easy way to save money every day can supplement any of the tips listed above.
Start small by skipping any nonessential expenses for a day. Then, as you get more comfortable, keep your no-spend challenge going for two days—or even a full week! This may take some getting used to, so allow yourself a few small exceptions. (And remember that you can still spend money on essential expenses like rent and groceries.)
Trying a no-spend challenge will help you gain an appreciation for saving and balancing your needs with your wants. Plus, it can be an easy way to save money.
Even if you are focused on easy ways to save money every day, take a second to think about your financial future. Whether you’re imagining the bliss of paying off your student loans or the relaxation that comes from a weeklong tropical vacation, these images can keep you committed to your savings goals.
Take it one step further by creating a financial vision board to hang in your bedroom or office. This collection of inspirational images is a motivational money-saving hack, reminding you of your financial goals and keeping you focused as you work to achieve them.
The best way to save money will come down to what works for your personal circumstances and unique savings goals. As you try out these 11 easy ways to save money every day, keep the savings strategies that work for you and move on from the ones that don’t. Once you find the best ways to save money for you, you can practice them until they become habits that set you up for long-term savings success.
Check out these four tips to start a money savings challenge.
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