Some people are naturally gifted at finding ways to save money, and the rest of us are…not so much. If the idea of clipping coupons and scouring the internet to find the best deal sounds like too much work, here are 10 easy money-saving tips.
1. Reduce your car expense two ways: First by shopping for a late-model vehicle instead of a new one—you’ll save thousands of dollars, and no one will know the difference unless the model design changed. Then, keep driving the car well past when your payments end—you don’t need to buy a new one the moment it’s paid off.
2. Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) matches. Many employers will match your retirement contributions up to a certain level—so make sure you’re contributing every penny possible to take advantage of that free money!
3. Automate your savings by setting up an auto transfer from your savings to your checking account. Most of us spend whatever is in our checking account, and hope to save the leftover money at the end of the month. If you get paid on the 15th, you can set up an auto transfer of something small like $25 into your savings account. After one year, you’ll have $300! Save more if you can afford it.
4. Use a cash-back credit card that earns points on every purchase, so you can make money even as you spend it. Of course, you need to be very disciplined about paying the balance in full each month so you don’t end up paying interest.
5. Pay your car insurance semi-annually. If you’re paying it monthly or semi-monthly, you’re likely paying a few dollars more with each payment. If you can afford to make a bigger payment twice a year, you can reduce the overall cost.
6. Improve your credit score to get better interest rates on your loans. You can find your FICO® Score in Online or Mobile Banking—we provide it free to all members, and update it quarterly.
7. Get cash-back at the grocery store instead of wasting gas driving to a bank or paying ATM fees. Many merchants will give you up to $200.
8. Take leftovers to work for lunch one day a week. Leftovers aren’t as appealing as eating out, but unless you’re lucky enough to work at a company that provides free food, those daily restaurant lunches are adding up to hundreds of dollars each year.
9. Visit a warehouse club or discount store once a month to stock up on non-perishable items like toilet paper and pasta sauce. You’ll not only save money vs. buying at your local grocery store, you’ll be able to visit the grocery store less often (saving money on gas and impulse-purchases).
10. If you’re really serious about saving money, get into the habit of asking yourself “Do I really need this?” every time you’re tempted to pull out your wallet. This can help divert you from splurges like a Starbucks stop or a really cool pair of shoes.