Whether you’re building your emergency fund or putting a portion of your paycheck away for you and your family, chances are you’re saving money. It’s possible this all-important financial habit can feel tedious and boring, but with a little creativity and determination, saving can be interesting, dynamic, and exciting.
Creative Ideas to Save Money
- 1. Identifying Your Saving Goals
- 2. Finding a Saving Buddy
- 3. Seeking Out Free Activities
- 4. Getting Creative and DIY
- 5. Gamifying Savings
- 6. Swapping Goods and Trading Skills
- 7. Increasing Income
- 8. Split Your Direct Deposit into Checking and Savings
- 9. Change Your Due Dates for Bills
- 10. Switch Your Bank
- 11. Save Every $5 Bill
- 12. Take Advantage of Cash Back Credit Cards
- 13. Round Up Your Purchases Automatically
- 14. Consolidate Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan
- 15. Automate Your Savings into an Investment Account
15 Creative Ideas to Save Money
1. Identifying Your Saving Goals
Not sure how to make saving money fun? You could start by identifying your goals. Are you saving up for a big purchase, like a down payment on a house? Are you saving for your child’s future education?
Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish, you could determine a target amount of money you’d like to save. While this number might change over the course of your savings journey, you can always readjust your plan.
If you have an idea of how much money you’d like to work toward saving, you can consider diving deeper into your finances to pinpoint realistic objectives. Enter SoFi Relay.
SoFi Relay can give you a big-picture snapshot of your money: It has tools that can help you track and categorize your spending and cashflow. You could review these numbers to figure out if you have room in your budget to save. The best part is that SoFi Relay comes at no cost to SoFi members!
Of course, that’s just one such tool you can use. Once you’ve reviewed your individual financial circumstances and have a better idea of your savings goal(s), you could try these fun ways to save money.
2. Finding a Saving Buddy
With the right company, even the most mundane tasks can be enjoyable. You could talk about your savings goals with your friends and family members to potentially identify a saving buddy with similar objectives.
An ideal saving buddy will be supportive of your financial goals, flexible about changing plans in order to accommodate your specific savings needs, and have a positive money mindset.
Checking in with your buddy regularly could help keep you both stay on track and you can celebrate each other’s accomplishments. If you’re stressed about how to make saving money fun, you could brainstorm creative tactics with your saving buddy and implement them together.
3. Seeking Out Free Activities
Saving money does not have to be synonymous with missing out on exciting opportunities around you. You could enjoy free activities offered in your area.
Perhaps your local park offers free theater performances or concerts in the summer, or your area bookstore hosts interesting literary panels and author discussions with no attendance fee. Think about the resources provided by your local library, such as book clubs, language exchange programs, craft nights, and movie screenings.
4. Getting Creative and DIY
A potential hands-on and fun way to save money is adopting a DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude. You could create things using materials you already own instead of buying new products. When meal-prepping for the week ahead, think about recipes that incorporate ingredients you already have in your pantry.
You could make your own household cleaners out of vinegar, lemon rinds, and herbs or face masks and toners using fresh ingredients like avocado, tea, honey, and oatmeal. There are ways to reuse materials that might otherwise be thrown out or recycled: Newspapers and coupon booklets could make great wrapping paper, and old cereal boxes might be repurposed into desk organizers.
5. Gamifying Savings
If you’re looking to break up the monotony of saving, you could consider incorporating games and challenges into your overall savings plan. A friendly competition with your saving buddy could be seeing who can save the most money every week, month, and/or year.
Creating small rewards for reaching your goals might be an incentive, too. (Bonus points if these rewards are free!) No-spend weeks, where you refrain from spending any money for seven days, also might help with saving. You could make it fun by taking out a $20 bill from the ATM at the beginning of each month, for example, and not spending it.
6. Swapping Goods and Trading Skills
Getting serious about saving money doesn’t mean you need to give up “luxuries” such as exercising, new clothes and accessories, or home goods. Trading skills and swapping goods are two potential examples of how to make saving money fun while not depriving yourself of the things you want.
You could go to your favorite yoga studio and ask if they have a work-trade program where you can clean or complete administrative duties in exchange for classes. A clothing swap with your friends could refresh your closet at no cost. You might also consider an informal exchange with skilled friends.
For example, if you’ve been eyeing an original painting from your artist pal but don’t have the funds to pay her, you could offer your website design services (or some other helpful skills) for the painting.
7. Increasing Income
Sometimes, cutting down on expenses might not be the most effective way to reach a savings goal. It might be easier, in some cases, to make a bit more money than to reduce costs, especially if you are spending more than 50% of your income on non-discretionary expenses like groceries and debt payments.
A SoFi credentialed financial advisor can help you determine if increasing your income is an appropriate action based on your individual financial profile.
If so, you could reflect on your particular skills and/or hobbies to see if there is a way to translate one of them into an income stream.
For example, if you love to knit, you could start an online store for your yarn creations. If you have a knack for stringing words together, you could offer your writing or editing services in a freelance capacity. A successful side hustle could help bring additional money into your bank account and add more fun and enjoyment in your life.
8. Split Your Direct Deposit into Checking and Savings
If you have regular paychecks, one of the easiest ways to start saving a bit more money is to guarantee some automatically ends up in a separate savings account, making it that much harder to spend. If you have a checking account, odds are you have a savings account too, or at least access to one.
Maybe you find it hard to remember to put some money away into savings, or harder still, to force yourself to part with it. So, splitting your direct deposit into two accounts helps make sure your savings grows every paycheck, without you needing to worry about transferring the money. Check with your HR department or your online pay system to see if you can add a bank account and designate a certain amount of each paycheck to go into your savings account as part of your direct deposit.
Most banks also have the option to set up recurring transfers yourself between your accounts, so if you don’t have the option to split up your paycheck, or would prefer not to, look to see if your bank is able to do an internal automatic transfer on the day after you get paid. Then, when your paycheck hits your account, your designated amount will get transferred into savings without you having to think twice.
9. Change Your Due Dates for Bills
Having extra money in your savings account doesn’t help if you are constantly pulling from it to pay bills. When you don’t have enough money in your checking account to pay for something, you can incur an overdraft fee.
If you are overdrafting frequently, especially at certain times of the month when big payments are due, consider changing the due dates of some of your bills. Sometimes spreading out your larger payments—like credit card bills or student loans—throughout the month can help when those more inflexible dates, like rent, roll around.
By changing the date of some of your bills, hopefully you will be able to overdraft less frequently. This will encourage you to not touch your savings account, as opposed to pulling from it every time your checking account balance gets precariously low.
10. Switch Your Bank
If your bank seems to be charging you endless fees and offers little interest on your savings account, switch! You might consider a credit union instead of a big name bank—credit unions are run as financial co-ops, meaning each member has a stake in business as a de facto owner.
Banking with a credit union will usually allow more flexibility and lower fees. Credit unions are typically smaller than most big banks, while offering the same services. As nonprofits, they are designed to serve their members, paying higher interest rates on deposits as well.
Switching to a reputable online lender, like SoFi, could be right for you. We recently launched SoFi Checking and Savings®, a checking and savings account, which allows you to spend, save, and earn all in one product.
It doesn’t have any account fees (subject to change), is mobile-friendly, and you can access your money from any ATM that accepts Mastercard, even internationally (subject to change).
11. Save Every $5 Bill
This is a classic adult remix of the piggy bank you had as a kid. Only this time, instead of squirreling away quarters from the tooth fairy, take every $5 you get and put it in a separate drawer at home. Keep all of these $5 in the back of a closet somewhere, tucked away and out of sight.
Once you get into the habit of identifying $5 as “no spend” bills, you’ll find it can really be a creative way to save money—depending on how much cash you usually carry, of course.
The benefit of this method is that $5 isn’t really enough to miss if you are just putting away a bill or two, but that at the end of the year, it can easily add up to enough cash to help with holiday shopping, a loan payment, or even a nice donation to your favorite charity, without having to touch your savings in the bank.
12. Take Advantage of Cash Back Credit Cards
Simply put, if you have a credit card that has a decent rewards program, you can likely get your rewards in cash. While getting cash back won’t boost your savings directly, it can allow you to spend rewards points instead of your savings.
However, if you tend to carry over a balance on your credit card, cash back cards may not be a good solution for you right now.
13. Round Up Your Purchases Automatically
Apps like Qapital and BoostUp will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and then save the change for you. Digit analyzes your income and spending, and then takes out a small amount every few days and saves it in a rainy day fund in the app for you. These apps all connect to your bank accounts, making it an easy and fun way to save money automatically.
Without having to think about anything besides the initial setup, and without taking out big chunks of your income each month, apps that round up into savings can easily help boost your goals of saving more. Plus, the amount they save for you is small, so you aren’t likely noticing $1 or even a few cents when it transfers, which can add up to hundreds per year.
14. Consolidate Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan
You can always spend more on a credit card. You can’t spend more on a loan. While there is conflicting advice about whether it’s important to pay off your debt before building up your savings, you shouldn’t let debt deter you from saving, if possible. That’s why paying off your credit card debt with a personal loan is a creative way to shake up your finances.
If you owe money on more than one credit card, or have an especially high balance relative to your credit limit, take a look and see if the rates on a personal loan would help lower your monthly payments. Often, taking out one personal loan to cover the cost of multiple credit cards can help you with savings in the long run; while you’ll still be paying off the personal loan, if your credit cards had higher interest rates, you’ll be done paying off the total sooner, leaving more cash free for savings.
15. Automate Your Savings into an Investment Account
It’s the age-old financial advice worth repeating here: if your company offers a match on your 401K savings, take advantage of it! If your company match is 6 percent, you should set your contribution at 6 percent to get the most out of your retirement funds.
Most company wealth management accounts can be set to automatically deduct contributions from your paycheck, but you can schedule other automatic investments too. You can make scheduled, recurring transfers between your bank account and your wealth management account.
You get to select the dollar amount, the date and the frequency you want. This is a great way to put your savings to good use — send it into an investment account. There are plenty of other technologies available to help make this easy, too.
The app Acorns invests in a basic investment portfolio by rounding up each purchase you make to the nearest dollar. SoFi offers online stock trading as well as automated investing, with access to a human financial advisor. By automating your savings to transfer over to an investment account, you are setting up your savings to work hard for your future when you might need the money more.
Optimizing Your Savings
Putting away money for your future does not need to be a boring task; there are countless fun ways to save money that could be customized to your specific financial needs and wants.
Starting to save today—even in small amounts—might help prepare you for even more fun in the future. Signing up for SoFi Checking and Savings® could be another way to save money.
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