Kara Perez, founder of Bravely, dishes on seven ways you can start saving money.
By Kara Perez
Saving more money is a goal I hear from many people. They want to have more to work with but are mystified at how they can cut back. We’re all making our normal salaries work while trying to balance debt, living a fun life and, yes, saving a little bit.
I consider myself a champion saver. In about two years’ time, I have gone from thousands in student-loan debt to a mid-five-figures net worth. It’s all due to a commitment to saving money every day. I look for every opportunity, big or small, to save my cash.
Depending on your salary and your personality, there are different methods of saving that will work best for you. If you make enough money to automate savings and still have enough to live on, definitely do that. Taking money out of your account before you can spend it is the easiest way to grow your savings account. You only have to set up the transfer and then let the bank take it from there.
Below is a list of ways you can kick-start your savings habit today. These are small changes that can add up to big savings, and all can be easily implemented into your daily routine.
- Save all your change and all your $1 bills. Take them out of your wallet as soon as you accrue them and put them into a jar. At the end of the month, deposit all the coins and bills you saved into your savings account. Repeat for as many months as you can to compound the savings.
- Make your own cleaning supplies. Vinegar, y’all: It’s the frugal answer to everything. White vinegar mixed with water is a powerful cleaning agent you can use to clean toilets, floors and windows. Run your dishwasher with white vinegar in the detergent slot to clean the dishwasher and rid it of bad smells. Water, white vinegar and flour make a great paste for cleaning metal in your home, like copper or brass spouts.
- Get a library card. Libraries are cornerstones of our democracy. Educational resources for free? A safe space to gather with no entry fee? Heck, yes. You can use the library for everything from gaining access to books and magazines, as well as movies and a free co-working space. Many libraries often hold events, so check the schedule for lectures, free movie screenings or when to meet local politicians.
- Shop smarter. Online shoppers should sign up for Paribus, which tracks your purchases and requests price reimbursements on your behalf if the Paribus team finds a purchase of yours for cheaper elsewhere. Users usually save between $60 to $100 a year. Additionally, you can shop smarter at the grocery store. By shopping in-season produce, you can save a lot of money and eat tastier food.
- Barter or trade. Sell your services for things you need. If you have a skill that someone wants, be it fluency in another language or knowing how to correctly change a tire, you can use that. Bartering and trading are especially popular among millennials since so many of us are often broke. Save money by instead offering to trade for services or time.
- Have a no-spend day. We can so easily spend money that it becomes a mindless habit. A great way to save money and bring more mindful and deliberate decisions into your life is to declare one day each week a no-spend day. Plan ahead for this one by carpooling to work, bringing your lunch and coffee from home and having a night in instead of going out. You’d be surprised how much you can save by simply refusing to spend one day a week. If you’re someone who runs out to grab one thing every day, your spending habits may have snowballed without you even noticing.
- Clean out the pantry. Americans are notorious food wasters. The average household throws out $640 a year in food. Isn’t that money you’d rather have in the bank? Take a week or a month and work through all the food you have in your house. It’s time to eat that can of green beans that’s been sitting on the shelf for six months. Use a little creativity and make meals you’ve never had before. Meals don’t have to look Instagram perfect for them to be healthy and filling. Eating food you’ve already bought is a way to save money and cut down on your food waste.
After you’ve implemented some or all of these money-saving tactics, the most important part comes into play. You have to actually save the money. Make sure to transfer money out of your checking account into your savings account and keep it for a rainy day. It does no good if you simply cut back in one area to ramp up in another.
To read more financial advice, visit Kara’s website at http://www.bravelygo.co.