Four Creative and Effective Ways to Save More and Spend Less

by Sean Bryant on April 14, 2017

If you consistently live paycheck to paycheck and are thinking about getting a second, or third, job, take heed: instead of busting your behind for another boss, it might be better to focus on the money that you have and how to spend less of it. This will allow you to start saving some money and finally feel like you are on top of your finances. With this goal in mind, check out these tips and ideas:

“Find” Money in Your Bills

While most of us think we have a pretty good idea of where our money goes every month, chances are, you are spending at least some of your hard-earned cash on services and products you don’t need. Look at your bills and see if you can eliminate any of them — for example, you might be paying $25 or more a month for a gym membership that you never use, or you might have a smartphone service with tons of data and minutes that you don’t really need. As Glamour notes, paring down your paid subscriptions is another great way to end up with more money in your account each month — for example, you might have Netflix, Hulu and cable. Unless you are watching tons of TV every day, you can probably cut back to at least one of these services and pocket the rest of the savings.

When Shopping, Think High Quality

This tip might seem counter-intuitive — after all, in many cases higher quality items cost more — but in the long run, investing in brand name clothing, shoes, cookware and pretty much anything else will end up costing you less, because the items will last so much longer than their inexpensive cousins. For example, if you need a new jacket, head to an outdoors store like Cabela’s and check out their line of outerwear duds by a durable and trusted brand like The North Face. Their jackets are made to last at least several winters, instead of having to buy a new one every year.

Set up Automatic Savings

One of the easiest ways to save money is to not “see” the cash in the first place. To do this, ask the HR department at your job to divide your paycheck deposit into your savings and checking accounts. Start with maybe 10 or 15 percent of each payday going to savings and the rest into checking; you can always increase the amount you save as time goes on. Since interest rates are usually a bit higher for savings accounts, your saved money will grow faster than what is in checking.

Also Read: Acorns Review –  Savings Made Simple

Look for Small Savings that Add Up

Play a game to see how much you can save in a month by making seemingly insignificant changes. To make it more fun, put your daily savings into a piggy bank or coffee cup and then add up your savings at the end of 30 days. For example, if you adore Starbucks, consider bringing in your own cup. The barista will knock a dime off of your bill. Or, go to Starbucks every other day and put the latte savings into the piggy bank. Use the “cash back” option at the grocery store to get some money and avoid going to that ATM that charges you each time. Other ideas include turning up your A/C by a degree or two and see how much your bill drops in a month, cutting the amount of detergent you use by half and clipping coupons on your favorite cereal and shampoo.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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