5 Tips to Try If You Stink at Saving

by Kailey Hagen | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Feb. 26, 2020

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You will start to see a difference in your bank account balance if you stick with these money-saving tips.

Saving is simple in theory, but it's often a lot more difficult in practice. You've got bills to pay and everywhere you look, there are ads tempting you to spend even more on things you probably don't need. Then, just when everything is running along smoothly, an emergency comes up and now you have to pay for that, too. And there's that thing that you've really wanted for a long time and you probably shouldn't buy it but it's on sale...

Before you know it, your money's gone and those big financial goals you were supposed to be saving for must remain dreams deferred for a while longer. It doesn't have to be this way, though. If the above scenario sounds all too familiar to you, try some of the following tips to help you break out of that cycle.

1. Look for areas to cut costs

When you're struggling to save because your monthly expenses are too high, you must find a way to trim them back. This process doesn't have to be painful; it could be as simple as canceling subscriptions you aren't using anymore or keeping the thermostat a few degrees higher or lower than your ideal temperature to reduce your electric bill. 

Look over your budget (or create a budget if you don't already have one) and check for areas where you could cut back your costs. Then, take all of that extra money every month and put it right into savings. 

2. Set up automatic savings transfers

Saving is easier when you don't have to think about it as much. See if your bank enables you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. You could set these up every week, every other week, or every month, depending on your preferences. Once this is done, you can spend all the money that's left in your checking account on your bills and the things you enjoy.

If your bank doesn't allow automatic transfers or you're concerned about possibly overdrawing your account, try setting reminders for yourself on your phone or computer. That way you'll remember to manually transfer funds to your savings account according to the schedule you created.

3. Use a budgeting app

Budgeting apps can help you track where your money is going. This makes it easier to identify areas of overspending and it can help keep you accountable if you're been prone to ignoring your budget. 

There are dozens of budgeting apps available, and many of them are free. You just have to find the one that works best for your lifestyle. It should be detailed enough to give you valuable insights into your budget, like how much you're spending on common categories like food, transportation, and housing, without being so granular that you don't want to take the time to use it.

4. Institute a waiting period before you buy items on your want list

Impulsive spenders should institute a waiting period of at least 24 hours before they allow themselves to buy things they don't need. Use this time to think about whether you actually need the item you want and whether it makes sense to purchase it right now. If you decide it's not worth it, you can always budget a little money towards it every month and purchase it when you've saved up enough. This way, it doesn't have to derail your other savings goals.

If you decide you'd still like to purchase the item after waiting 24 hours, do some research online to see if you can find it for a better price elsewhere. Don't forget to factor in the cost of shipping and look into its return policy just in case the item isn't what you expected when it arrives.

5. Save your loose change

Loose change may not add up to much, but it's still money and if you make a habit of saving it, you could end up with a substantial amount after a while. Set out a change bowl and put all your coins there whenever you get them from a transaction or find them lying around. Then, when you've filled the jar, you can take the coins to the bank and deposit them into your account.

Saving isn't difficult as long as you're determined to do it. If it seems overwhelming, start small and work to increase the amount you save every month. You can try just one of the above tips or all five, depending on what works for you.

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