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10 Ways to Save Money While the World Shifts Back to 'Normal'

Author: Maurie Backman | June 16, 2021

Large pile of hundred dollar bills.

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Keep rocking the savings game

Though the coronavirus pandemic certainly isn't over, it's fair to say that things have improved a lot on that front, and that the summer of 2021 might look a lot more normal than last summer did. But the last thing you want to do is stray from your savings goals as things change for the better. Here are a few ways to keep saving money -- even as the world around you evolves.

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Part of a household budget is written on paper next to a calculator.

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1. Follow a budget

Sticking to a budget can help you keep your spending in check, and the less you spend, the more you're apt to save. You can bust out a spreadsheet to map out your expenses, or find a budgeting app that helps you manage your bills.

ALSO READ: 4 Sneaky Ways to Force Yourself to Save Money

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Person sitting in armchair while using laptop.

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2. Set spending priorities

Now that the world is opening up, you may be eager to hit the clubs, go back to the gym, and eat at as many restaurants as you can. But don't go overboard. If you start spending excessively, you'll thwart your savings efforts. Instead, identify the top things you've missed and want to get back to, and spend your money on them.

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Person sitting on couch and reading a book.

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3. Uphold some of your best pandemic habits

A lot of people saw their income take a hit during the pandemic and had to adjust their spending on the fly. If you cut back on certain expenses over the past year because you were worried about losing your job, keep cutting back even if that's no longer a concern. If you canceled your gym membership, for example, and got into the habit of running or biking instead, keep doing that. There's no sense in spending on things you've clearly learned to live without.

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Person stirring a pot on a stove.

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4. Cook as much as you can

Preparing meals in your own kitchen will pretty much always be cheaper than eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. Make a point to cook as often as you can, and try planning out meals ahead of time to maximize leftovers.

ALSO READ: Why Boosting Your Savings in 2021 Is More Important Than Ever

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A tent pitched beside a lake at sunset and a person sitting by a campfire.

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5. Travel cheaply

After a year of being cooped up at home, you may be eager to get out and travel. But that doesn't mean you need to book a stay at a luxury resort. Instead, explore your options for a low-cost vacation. Take a road trip to a national park and camp out overnight, or find friends to split a cabin in the woods with. You can have a great vacation without busting your budget.

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A hiker walking on a forest trail.

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6. Seek out free entertainment

If the pandemic taught us anything, it's how to get creative with entertainment. To take that concept one step further, explore your options for no-cost leisure activities that help you stay busy without spending a dime. You can sign up for free programs through your community center or parks department, take up hiking, or get yourself a library card and enjoy hours of free entertainment each month by borrowing books.

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Person driving a car.

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7. Find yourself a work car pool

A lot of people who have been working remotely for the past year are now being called back to the office. And that means you'll have commuting expenses to deal with. You can save money, however, by finding colleagues to commute with so you can split the cost of driving.

ALSO READ: 5 Ways Minimalism Can Save You Money

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Debt free wooden sign on a tabletop.

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8. Stay out of debt

The less debt you rack up, the less money you'll throw away on interest. If you don't trust yourself to spend responsibly, tuck your credit cards away somewhere safe and only whip them out in an emergency.

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Jar of money labeled IRA sitting next to calculator.

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9. Max out retirement plan contributions

Lowering your tax burden is a great way to save money, and funding an IRA or 401(k) plan can help you do just that. Traditional IRA and 401(k) contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, so the more money you put into one of these accounts, the less income the IRS can tax you on.

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10. Take good care of your health

Healthcare can be a huge expense, but if you do your part to stay fit, you might manage to minimize your medical bills. That means eating well, exercising regularly, and doing things to alleviate stress.

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We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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Person in glasses holding money and smiling widely.

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Stay on course

Now that things are slowly but surely shifting back toward normalcy, your expenses might change. Keep these tips in mind to maintain your savings during these unquestionably interesting times.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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