According to a CareerBuilder survey, about 78 percent of workers in the United States were living paycheck-to-paycheck as of 2017.
It’s a stressful situation to be in, but saving a little money here and there can really make a big difference in the long run.
Start with a goal to save $100 a month.
That might not seem like much, but ask yourself: “If I save 100 dollars a week, how much will I have in a year?” The answer2 is more than $5,000.
The following strategies can help move you toward more frugal money management habits.
Take a look at your bank account. How often have you gone out to eat or ordered within the past month? Money expert Clark Howard (@ClarkHoward), founder of thinks that most Americans are spending too much on dining expenses.
Howard sums up his views: “Most of us go to restaurants or order take out because it’s convenient — not necessarily because the food is better than we could make for ourselves at home.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics seems to support Howard’s view. In 2017, U.S. households spent an average of $3,365 on restaurant food.
Gym memberships give you access to plenty of useful workout equipment. But you can find many ways to achieve your fitness goals without paying a monthly fee. We couldn’t agree more with finance expert Lauren Greutman (@laurengreutman), who thinks ditching the gym and relying on a free fitness app is a great way to save money.
But don’t stop there. Canceling a gym membership is only the first step in reassessing your monthly dues. Consider cutting out other unessential services as well. Greutman has an additional suggestion: “Instead of paying $100 per month on cable, sign up for Sling TV and pay only $25 a month.”
We’re not suggesting you try to install your own hot water heater or tinker with your car’s engine. When we say “DIY,” we’re thinking more along the lines of DIY gifts.
When a birthday and holiday is coming up, don’t feel pressured to go out and buy an expensive gift. DIY gifts are cheaper and have the potential for more personalization.
A few examples:
The recipient will appreciate that you took the DIY approach. And so will your bank account.
If you’re the type of person who leaves your television and lights on when you’re not using them, it’s time to shake that habit.
Some people tend to leave their lights or television on to deter potential burglars when they’re not home. A more cost-effective solution? Switch to motion-sensor lights and leave a radio on, rather than the television. Take your electricity conservation strategy a step further.
You might’ve heard that most appliances and devices continue to draw electricity even when you’re not using them. For example, if you left a phone charger plugged in for an entire year, it’d probably add a few cents to your overall electric bill.
The amount of money a charger adds to your bill is completely negligible. But little and often make much. Think of all the other devices you leave plugged in on a daily basis.
Going around unplugging everything isn’t always practical. No one wants to reach behind their television to unplug the cable box, router, or speaker system multiple times a day. Instead, connect your appliances and devices to a power strip, so you can turn them all off at the push of a button.
Whether you’re at a local shopping outlet or just browsing online, credit and debit cards make impulse buying an easy habit to fall into. That sense of convenience can wreak havoc on your monthly expenses.
Chris Whitlow, CEO and founder of Edukate, a financial wellness company, has some advice that can help you resist temptation and save some cash during your daily outings. “To prevent impulse purchases, wait 48 hours after identifying something you’d like to purchase.”
Don’t forget to keep track of your savings! If you manage to talk yourself out of the purchase within that 48-hour window, make a note of how much money the item would’ve cost you.
At the end of the month, calculate how much money you ultimately saved by resisting those impulse decisions. Consider shifting those funds into a savings account. If you do so, use a monthly savings calculator to get a clearer picture of where you’re headed financially.
From Alamosa in Colorado a passionate writer shares knowledge on the topic of Business Management. Michelle’s career gained momentum after her studies at Adams State College in the 1990s. Thanks to years of experience her articles are invaluable to her readers.