At some point, nearly all consumers want to cut their spending and boost their savings — but turning these monetary dreams into a reality can be much easier said than done. By employing the right finance-focused practices, though, we can all take big steps toward building up a nest egg over time. And some of the thrifty, future-focused practices that can help us get there are fairly easy to implement right away.
To better manage your finances and quickly start putting more of your money toward savings, consider working these 12 simple money-saving tips into your daily routine:
- Pay down your debt — The first step toward building a substantial amount of savings is to pay off any outstanding debt that you may have. This is critical because, with interest charges constantly accruing, the longer you wait to pay off your debt, the larger it will continue to grow. So, before putting any money aside for savings, it’s wise to focus on eliminating any debts on which interest is being charged — starting with the debts carrying the highest interest rates.
- Set up a savings account — To better safeguard your savings, it’s helpful to separate it from the account you use for everyday spending — typically a checking account for most consumers. By doing so, you’ll make the funds you set aside a bit more officially designated as savings in your mind, helping reduce the risk that you’ll be tempted to dip into your savings for day-to-day spending. Of course, one great way to do this is to set up a personal savings account .
- … And make saving automatic — By setting up recurring automated transfers to your savings account, you’ll make saving automatic — and before long, you’ll hardly notice that the set amount you allot to savings each month or from each paycheck is “missing” from your checking account. Choose an amount that you can afford to set aside, and even if it’s not all that much, it can build up to become substantial savings over time.
- Cut out the costly habits — Some of the worst habits for people’s health can also be the most expensive. So, by cutting out or cutting back on smoking and/or drinking alcohol, for example, and devoting the unspent funds to saving, you can improve both your health and your finances. Further, by living a healthier lifestyle, you can potentially eliminate costly future health care expenses, plus cut your health insurance costs.
- Eliminate everyday expenses — Grabbing that meal out during your lunch break or swinging by the coffee shop on your way to the office may not seem all that expensive at the time — but if it’s done with regularity, the costs can add up big over the long haul. To add to your savings, consider making an effort to pack your lunch and/or make your own coffee more often, along with finding other ways to limit your everyday discretionary spending.
- Take a ‘staycation’ — Long-distance travel is exciting, but with airfare and lodging expenses largely unavoidable, the trips can get pricey. To save money on your vacation, consider seeing the sights in your hometown or in nearby places within driving distance. You’ll still be able to enjoy the relaxation of time off work and the fun of being a tourist, plus have more cash to devote toward your savings goals.
- Recognize wants vs. needs — Most of us realize what our true needs are, and we can usually distinguish them from our wants. But when we desire something enough, the line between the two can become a bit blurrier. Do your best to always separate your wants from your needs, and recognize that the 55-inch flat screen TV falls into the wants category — even if the big game is coming up this weekend. While you can certainly let yourself splurge on your wants occasionally, try to limit such spending until you reach your savings goals.
- Shop around — Sometimes,a short amount of time spent doing price checks on unavoidable upcoming expenses such as insurance policies, home repairs and auto repairs can lead to big savings — some of which can go directly to your savings account. Especially with larger expenditures, be sure to do your due diligence to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
- Slim down your services — Do you regularly use all of those video and music streaming services you’re paying for each month? What about that gym membership? Or the news websites you pay monthly membership fees to access? (Side question: Do you even recall all of the services you’re subscribing to … and paying for?) On occasion, be sure to review your bank and credit card statements to remind yourself of all of the subscription- and membership-based services you’re paying for — and cancel any that you simply don’t use enough to justify the expense. Then, devote any funds you save to your savings goals.
- Seek out side income — Do you have extra time on your hands that you could turn into some extra cash with a side job? Chances are, you’ve got a skill — maybe it’s even a hobby — that people would be willing to pay for. Or maybe you have time to devote to lucrative services like dog sitting, lawn care, tutoring or delivery driving. Especially if you could pull in some extra income doing something you actually enjoy, this can be a great way to boost your savings.
- Try DIY repairs — If you own your home and are at all handy, consider doing minor (and approachable) household repairs on your own rather than hiring a professional to complete them. Especially with the resources available on the internet and on video-sharing platforms like YouTube, it’s relatively easy to find written instructions or video walkthroughs on how to perform most household repairs — and the money that you don’t have to give to the handyman can go straight to your savings account.
- Sell off your unused items — If you’ve got possessions around the house that you simply don’t use anymore, consider selling them via a garage sale or by using an online selling platform such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Not only will this give your unused items new life with a new owner and help you clear the clutter from around your home, the money you earn by selling these goods can help you build up your savings.
At The Southern Bank, we pride ourselves on offering friendly, personalized service to all of our customers — and that includes providing guidance when you have questions about any of our banking services. To learn more about our Personal Banking services ranging from Personal Checking and Personal Loans to Savings & Money Market, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Mortgages and more, check out the Personal Banking page on our website or visit one of our local branches for friendly, in-person service with a smile.