There’s no doubt about it, prices seem to be heading ever higher. That means your money doesn’t go as far and it’s harder to save…but you probably knew that already.
A whopping 82% of American consumers reported that their budgets were impacted after weathering an historic pandemic followed by inflation, according to a 2022 HomeServe survey.
Rather than sit by and watch your dollars do less, fight back. How to save money every day? With a clear eye, cool confidence, and some clever hacks, you’ve got this. The belt-tightening likely won’t make life miserable, just more manageable.
These little tweaks shouldn’t sting too much, whether you try the practical (such as adjusting your meal planning) or the philosophical (delaying gratification). Read on to learn easy ways to save money every day and details on:
• How to achieve financial fitness
• Building a realistic budget
• Improving your money mindset
• The best ways to cut back on spending
The Benefits of Saving Money Daily
Finding ways to spend less daily can be a money-wise move that helps you all your life. Leaner spending could help you now and in the long term.
Some of the benefits of saving money every day include:
• Fewer money crises: You’ll likely have a cash cushion in your checking account.
• More money to save: Spending less means more money you can sock away, whether in an emergency fund or an investment portfolio.
• A more intentional lifestyle: You’ll be more conscious of the money you have coming in and going out and can therefore make more careful, mindful money decisions.
• Smaller environmental footprint: Saving money can mean buying less and also learning how to use fewer natural resources.
• Paid-down debts: When you don’t spend as much and free up extra cash, you can use that to minimize or eliminate your debt.
• Fewer bank and credit-card fees: By saving money, you are less likely to accrue late fees, overdraft or NSF fees (that’s non-sufficient funds), and other pricey charges.
• Heightened awareness of needs vs. wants: By analyzing your spending, you’ll be better able to recognize necessities vs. things that perhaps you don’t really need.
• A life lived within your means: You’ll be able to design a life that doesn’t involve feeling as if you are always struggling to keep up with expenses. That’s a form of financial self-care.
• Confidence and empowerment: Practicing smart cash management is a valuable skill and one that you should be proud of!
23 Tips to Save Money Daily
Now that you know all the amazing benefits that are possible, why not dive in? Here are 23 easy tips to save money every day.
1. Understand Your Spending Habits
Stop for a minute, and consider your money style. Some people are planners and thoughtful spenders; others are more impulsive with money, or have a yo-yo style of spending.
For instance, on payday, do you splurge on cocktails and clothing and then eat boxed mac and cheese until your next paycheck? Do you look at a windfall like a tax refund and think how to start paying down debt with it, or would you instead go shopping?
Think about how you manage your cash and the money culture you grew up in. Did your family squirrel away cash or overspend? What we learn as kids can affect how we spend as adults. But that doesn’t mean you are locked into a certain financial style. By understanding how you behave, you can start making changes.
2. Build a Realistic Budget Tailored to You
Creating a budget that is tailored to your needs and really works for you is a great step towards saving money daily. Making a budget typically requires looking at your after-tax income and seeing how to allocate your funds. Essentially, it is a blueprint for living within your means.
You can use a variety of methods to budget, like the 50/30/20 budget rule (50% towards musts, 30% towards wants, 20% towards savings). You may want to track your budget with pencil and paper, in an online spreadsheet, or via an app or digital tools that your bank offers. What’s most important is to find a system that works for you, so it can help keep your spending and saving in a good place.
Recommended: Building a Line Item Budget
3. Track Your Spending and Expenses Daily
Part of budgeting and saving money involves knowing where your cash goes. Keep a log for up to a month. Track every dime: tips in the bakery jar, sales tax, parking meter fees, Ubers, tolls. Include bank fees.
This tally will provide important data. By knowing where your money goes, you can then see where to scale back. You may realize your once-a-week takeout dinner has become a three-times-a-week habit that’s throwing your finances off-track.
4. Avoid Buying Items According to Trends
You can make your money go further by being a discriminating shopper and not spending on fads. For instance, your wardrobe can see you through years if you buy quality classics. If, say, a certain hue is a fall fashion trend, embrace it via a small purchase, such as eyeshadow or tights.
Also be cautious about buying brand new electronic gadgets or the latest home entertainment system. Prices have been known to come down considerably if you can be a little patient.
5. Eat Out Less Frequently
A latte and a muffin are not everyday office essentials. Get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier, and eat at home. Bring lunch. Don’t eat out with kids so often. Children’s menus (pasta, chicken fingers) are often overpriced. Cook spaghetti, and have Alexa play Italian music.
When you do eat out, don’t feel obligated to go for splurge-y places just because a friend wants to try a new hotspot. Or see if the new place in town has a prix fixe menu if you eat on the early side. Having financial discipline means making smart choices about where to allocate your money.
6. Pay for Expenses With Cash
A plastic card can feel like play money until the bills come. Credit cards, with their high APRs (annual percent rates) and late fees, are not your friend. The average American is walking around with over $5,000 in credit card debt according to an Experian study in late 2021. That amount can take quite a while to pay off and can interfere with your reaching financial goals.
Instead of charging purchases, use cash or a debit card. This will help you save money daily.
7. Improve Your Money Mindset
Another way to keep more of your cash is to change your money mindset. Rather than see your income as something to be spent, come up with meaningful goals worth saving for (the down payment for a house, perhaps). Consider gamifying saving with rounding-up apps and other tools. Set up automatic transfers (even just $20 is fine) on payday to whisk money from checking into savings before you can spend it. Also be conscious of lifestyle creep (when we automatically spend more as we earn more) and outsmart it.
8. Reduce Your Entertainment Costs
Cancel extra subscriptions. Do you really need Hulu, HBO, Disney+, and Netflix? Many of us signed up for all kinds of streaming services during the pandemic, but now can be a good time to drop one, two, or a few and save money daily. (The Trim website can help you track them.)
9. Pay Down Debts ASAP
It can be tough to figure out how to start paying down debt, but do your best to live on real, not borrowed, money. If you’re behind on personal loan or credit card payments, set up a monthly plan to pay it off. The money weight (and, possibly, emotional baggage) will likely start to lift with the first payment. Need more help? Look into nonprofit debt counseling services for advice.
10. Delay Gratification
Avoid impulse purchases. Put off buying more possessions, whether clothes or gadgets. Understand your shopping triggers (boredom, for instance), and learn how to distract yourself. Or put cash aside in increments to save for something special.
11. Lower Your Car Costs
Cars are major purchases to start with, and they lose value quickly once you buy them. Consider buying a pre-owned car versus new, and also look for ways to whittle related costs. The Gasbuddy.com search engine finds the cheapest gas available nearby (you could save up to 50 cents per gallon.) Wash your own car. The investment is small if you already have a hose and a hand-held vac.
12. Avoid ‘Keeping up With the Joneses’
Bills can soar when you try to keep up with free-spending friends and neighbors. Just because your bff has a Tesla and loves it doesn’t mean you need one too. And just because your coworkers fly to Florida every winter for vacation doesn’t mean that’s a smart money move for you. You can save big by shaking off the FOMO and living within your means. To save even more every day, go a step further and experiment with living below your means.
13. Switch up Meal Plans
The old promise about “a chicken in every pot” (enough food for the family) gets harder with inflation. Cut back where possible. Buy chicken thighs (or roast a whole chicken) vs. skinless, boneless, pre-sliced chicken breasts; you can definitely lower your food costs. Try more meatless meals (beans, rice, cheese, veggies) to save versus the price of beef. Plan and freeze meals ahead. There are thousands of inspiring recipes online and completely free that can suit any palate.
14. Buy In Bulk
Warehouse clubs can save you a bundle if you stick to a list. The annual membership fee is generally worth it if you buy basics, from pasta sauce to paper products, pet food, and frozen dinners. If you think places like Costco aren’t for you due to small household size or lack of storage space, consider partnering with a friend or two and divvying up the purchases.
15. Buy Secondhand
A great way to save every day is to shop Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, thrift shops, and yard sales for gently used items, from air conditioners to designer shoes. It helps your wallet and the environment to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Plus the thrill of the hunt can be hard to beat!
16. Rent vs Buy
Crunch the numbers and see if renting can help improve your budget. You may be able to save big in an apartment vs. a house or by leasing vs. buying a car. Renting is usually an obvious money-wise choice in other situations as well, such as formal wear when attending a wedding and kayaks or mountain bikes if you’re test-driving a new hobby.
17. Find a High-Interest Savings Account
Instead of cutting back on expenses, how about putting your money to work for you? Shop for a bank that pays you more to keep your money there. Interest rates are currently rising, with online banks often paying considerably more than traditional ones. Banks want your business, so hunt for a competitive high-yield savings account that doesn’t charge you fees.
18. Work Out at Home, Not a Gym
Put your money into sneakers on sale, and run or walk regularly at a park or track. Or get weights and an exercise ball. It can save you a nice pile of cash over pricey Pilates classes (which can also be found online for free, incidentally).
19. Find Cash Back on Purchases
Some debit and credit cards offer cash back, meaning a percentage of the money you spend comes back to you in the form of discounts, gift cards, or, as the name implies, cash. Also look for manufacturer rebates; one tire company offered a $50 gift card with purchase of a new set of four; some contact-lens companies will send you a $25 or $50 rebate with each supply.
20. Save Electricity
Turn off lights and TVs when you leave a room. Keep your house a little cooler than usual (say, a couple of degrees) in winter and a little warmer in summer. Smart thermostats can be a wise investment to help you scale down your utility bills.
21. Seek Out Free Activities
Explore ways to fill your free time without spending much or any money. Some museums have free days or nights. County parks, hiking trails, and nature preserves are open. Check public library and town recreation schedules for concerts and cultural events.
22. Make Small Sacrifices
If you usually buy java to-go every day, make your own a few days a week; you might save $50 a month or more. Hold yourself accountable to taking public transportation rather than rideshares on a regular basis. Put off beauty salon treatments by a week, or do your own mani. Inquire at salons about junior stylists in training, when services cost less.
23. Plan Events Ahead
A great way to save money is to plan ahead. For example, if you’re hosting a dinner party or bridal shower and wait till the last minute to get going, you’ll likely wind up having to buy prepared (pricier) foods, not to mention racing around frantically. And if you are buying gifts for the holidays, you may miss out on good deals on toys if you wait till right before the big day. Make a list, and schedule ahead to keep on budget.
Almost anyone can learn how to save money every day. It’s not a hardship if you make small changes that add up. You can start with small ways to spend a bit less. Once you realize you can still live comfortably and confidently while trimming expenses, focus on changing your shopping patterns, finding DIY options, and knowing how not to get caught in debt traps. Not only will your savings grow, but so too will your financial literacy.
SoFi can help you with these money goals. When you have our Checking and Savings account, you can spend and save in one simple place and access a suite of tools that can help you budget better. Plus, when you open a bank account online with direct deposit, you’ll earn an extra competitive interest rate and avoid those typical bank charges.
Is the envelope challenge good for saving money daily?
The envelope challenge is helpful for saving money daily. Put cash in separate envelopes marked, for example, gasoline, coffee, lunch, and groceries. The cash allotted reflects how much you can spend in a month. Once the money is gone, that’s it. Handling cash this way can help train you not to overspend.
How can I save money every day if I do not make a lot of income?
Even if your income is lower, you can save every day by shopping with intention (use a list, plan your meals, delay gratification), buying second-hand or renting items, and embracing DIY skills. Spending wisely works equally well for those with large or small incomes.
How can I teach myself to start saving money?
You can teach yourself to be more frugal by first reviewing the money mindset you grew up with. See if you can break out of some bad habits. Set your goals, then embrace tips, like automatically transferring some money to savings on payday, that will help you save money.
Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004
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