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Does your paycheck burn a hole in your pocket before you know it? We all want to save money and accumulate wealth, but it can be hard to know where to start. Here are the most realistic ways to start saving money this year.
1. Download an App
Believe it or not, many money-saving apps permeate the app store. A few are free, but most ask for a small monthly fee. My favorite money-saving app is Digit.
You can customize your goals and decide a limit for how much money the app can remove from your bank account, but the best part of Digit is you forget it exists because it does all the hard work for you. Soon, you’ll have $30 saved for gas. I have five different savings accounts within the app. Each day, the app deposits 25 cents or less into the accounts.
If you need new clothes, forget the mall or department stores and head to a thrift store. Thrifting is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in the contemporary fashion world and cut down on waste produced by fast fashion.
3. Use Cash
You’re less likely to spend cash than swipe a credit card. With credit cards, money feels fake. With real paper cash, you see it disappear. Each week, withdraw a certain amount of money for free spending and track what you spend.
Here’s a huge one. Dining out is a great way to explore your city and get a taste of local cuisine, but it adds up quickly. A meal with an appetizer and an entree can cost anywhere from $30 and $60, at least where I live, and that is not a realistic budget for someone trying to save money.
When cooking, look for hearty, healthy options to freeze and save for meals later.
5. Pause Before Purchase
Say you want a new TV. The moment the TV releases, you head to the store to dump out all your money in exchange for a shiny new electronic device. Try waiting a few weeks or months for the price to diminish and to reflect on the purchase. Do you need the TV, or is there a cheaper, better one?
6. Grocery List
Who isn’t guilty of a grocery visit on an empty stomach? Your eyes take over and grab every tangible item in the store, usually guaranteeing you end up with multiple snacks and few ingredients for meals. If you plan what you will buy in the store, you won’t have the urge to toss everything in the cart and spend more than you can afford.
7. Bye-Bye Brands
Name brands exist to bring more business to large corporations. They don’t need the money and fool customers with their branding labels. For so long, my family believed that brand names were superior to generic items. Now, we know brand items just have a superiority complex.
8. Change Jar
Invest in a piggy bank or a change jar to deposit spare change. You’ll be surprised how quickly spare change adds up.
9. Gas App
The best gas app is Upside. Upside tells you how much gas costs at most stations in your area and how much cash back you receive per gallon. Earning money back on a necessity is a no-brainer.
10. Make a Budget
The ultimate way to save money is to write down a specific budget, plan how much you will spend, and track each purchase. Refer to your budget frequently to stay on track.
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