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How to Save Money 101: Easiest Budgeting Tips

By Orgesta Tolaj


24 September 2023

hand holding empty wallet and savings jar

© Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

With inflation on the roof and at its peak, it is not surprising that so many people are looking for ways to still be able to save money. Prices being at all-time high is definitely not helping either! That is why, it is now more important than ever, to prepare yourself both mentally and financially for either fun trips or in case an emergency happens. That is where budgeting comes into play. While many struggle to find ways to budget and save money the right way, it should not be that hard to get started. Here are some tips we recommend so that you do not have to worry about how to save money by yourself!

How to Save Money The Easiest Way

Follow these four easy tips to get you started with budgeting:

1. Take Note of Where You Are Spending Money The Most

To save money effectively, it’s essential to track your expenses and find ways to reduce spending. You can achieve this by examining your bank and credit card statements. Here are some helpful tips to cut down on expenses:

  • Use a cheaper mobile or internet plan.
  • Make your lunches for work at home to avoid ordering food.
  • Make your own coffee at home.
  • Check whether you really need a subscription or membership.
  • Try keeping your credit cards or cash at home.
  • If you have a digital wallet (on your phone) avoid adding your credit cards there.
  • Recheck your insurance policies so that you do not overpay for coverage.

Recognizing where you spend the most money is also crucial for cutting expenses and increasing savings. These triggers can be emotional, like stress-induced overspending, or tied to particular locations or people. To identify your spending triggers, analyze recent unplanned expenses for recurring patterns, such as being with a specific person, shopping at a particular store, or experiencing specific emotions during purchases.

2. Prioritize Debt Payments

Reducing debt is a highly effective strategy to free up more of your income for savings. By eliminating monthly debt obligations, you can redirect that money toward building your savings. For instance, if your current monthly debt payments amount to $200, that’s a potential $200 per month that could be contributing to your savings account.

100 euros and 100 dollars
© Ibrahim Boran / Unsplash

It’s important to prioritize paying off high-interest debts, like outstanding credit card balances since they can eat into your finances due to their high interest rates. You might also explore options to reduce your interest burden, such as using a balance transfer credit card or considering a debt consolidation loan. These approaches can help you streamline your debt repayment and potentially lower your interest expenses, giving you more financial flexibility to bolster your savings.

3. Set Saving Goals

When it comes to saving money, maintaining motivation plays a significant role in your success. Staying committed to a savings plan becomes easier when you have well-defined objectives in mind. Some goals you can consider are creating an emergency fund, planning trips or vacations, retirement preparations, saving for an apartment or house, or even paying for your child’s future college education.

Defining SMART Goals

To set clear and effective savings goals, it’s essential to make them SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For instance, instead of saying you plan on saving money (which is vague and forgettable), try being more specific. You can say “I plan to go on vacation in 8 months and I need to have $620 saved until then”. This shows a specific target, a measurable outcome, an attainable milestone, relevance to your financial security, and a clear timeframe for achieving it. Such SMART goals are more likely to keep you motivated and on track toward your financial aspirations.

4. Avoid Manual Payments

Instead, try opting for automated savings. Streamlining your finances through automation can be a powerful tool for cultivating a savings habit effortlessly. There are two primary methods to consider for finance streamlining:

  1. Scheduled Transfers. This involves setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. When using this method, you can typically choose the withdrawal date and frequency, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This way, you ensure a consistent contribution to your savings without manual effort.
  2. Direct Deposit via Your Employer. Another effective way to automate savings is by arranging with your employer to deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into your savings account. You have the flexibility to specify either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of your earnings for this purpose. By doing this, your savings grow steadily with every paycheck, and it’s especially convenient for achieving long-term financial goals.

Saving Money for Daily Categories

Here are strategies to help you economize in some of the primary expenditure categories.

1. Tips for Reducing Grocery Expenses

Food costs often rank as a significant household expenditure, following housing and transportation. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household allocates $5,259 annually to groceries, though this amount can vary based on family size and location. To trim your grocery bills, consider employing meal planning techniques. Outline your weekly breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, creating a shopping list with only the necessary ingredients to curb impulse spending at the store. Also, keep an eye on weekly flyers for applicable coupons.

2. Ways to Save on Fuel Costs

Managing expenses related to gasoline can be more challenging due to limited flexibility, especially if you have a daily work commute. Exploring different gas stations is worthwhile since fuel prices can fluctuate significantly even within the same town. Additionally, staying on top of vehicle maintenance tasks, like filter replacements and tire pressure monitoring, can contribute to improved fuel economy.

3. Efficient Techniques for Lowering Electricity Bills

While we can’t control inflation’s impact on utilities, we can influence our electricity consumption with small lifestyle adjustments. Some approaches to reducing energy usage include using cold water for laundry, ensuring you run full loads of laundry and dishes, adjusting the thermostat downward during nighttime or absences, unplugging appliances when idle, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, opting out of the heated-dry function on your dishwasher, and adopting energy-efficient lighting choices.

4. Strategies for Economizing on Dining Expenses

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2021, American consumers allocated an average of 10.3% of their disposable income to food, with 5.1% spent on dining out. The most straightforward method to save on food costs is to limit your dining-out frequency. Effective meal planning can help with this and simultaneously reduce your grocery expenses. You might also consider designating one day per week for dining out, allowing some flexibility without overspending.

5. Savings Tips for Tax Management

While taxes are unavoidable, there are avenues to minimize your tax liability. To begin, file your tax return promptly to evade late fees. If you are self-employed and your income exceeds $1,000 in a tax year, making quarterly estimated tax payments is essential to avoid penalties. Moreover, bolstering your savings can lead to tax savings. Contributing to tax-deferred retirement plans like a 401(k), a health savings account (HSA), or a flexible spending account (FSA) can reduce your taxable income and consequently decrease your tax obligation.

How To Save Money for Emergencies

Sometimes, you have to put aside that dream gaming pc or Cuba trip for curves life might throw at you. In those situations, it is important to have a fund saved for emergency cases. These situations can be anything such as:

1. Loss of Employment

Any reduction in income, regardless of your lifestyle or financial standing, can disrupt your life. This may arise from job loss, a downturn in your business, or an unanticipated decline in income from investments or business ventures. These changes can result from economic or political factors beyond your control. An emergency fund serves as a safety net during such periods, providing financial stability until your income stabilizes.

2. Medical Expenses

Medical bills can accumulate rapidly, particularly when facing extensive or costly treatments like surgery, extended recovery, or rare medical conditions. While insurance covers a substantial portion of medical expenses, there are instances where it falls short. Experimental treatments, alternative therapies like acupuncture, or home healthcare may not be fully covered. An emergency fund can bridge the financial gap in such situations.

3. Repairs

Unexpected repairs often underscore the necessity of an emergency fund. Almost everyone has encountered unplanned expenses like sudden car repairs, where postponing repairs isn’t an option. However, unexpected costs are not limited to cars. Home appliances, air conditioning units, or roofing repairs can also be significant expenses. Natural disasters damaging property or vehicles further emphasize the value of an emergency fund.

Have you ever tried any of the tips we have mentioned on how to save money? Or are you a newbie looking for new ways to budget? We would love to hear whether you have found our guide helpful in the comments below!

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!