The start of a new month is a great time to set some new financial goals for yourself. If one of those goals is to save a little extra cash this month, we’ve got some tips to help you get started.
1. Take inventory of your subscriptions
Between streaming services, gym memberships, music services, meal services, and retailer memberships (both online and in-store), most of us have several subscriptions. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose track of where your money is going. In fact, the average American spends $237 a month on subscription services. This month, take inventory of every subscription you have, check how much you’re paying for each, and ask yourself which ones you’re not using regularly and which ones you can live without. Cancel a few and see how much you miss them over the next 30 days.
2. Transfer more into savings
It might seem like a simple move, but putting more of your money into your savings account can actually help you save a little bit more. Not only will you earn more interest, but when there’s less money in your checking account — it’s out of sight and out of mind — there’s less temptation to spend. If possible, try automatically allocating a portion of your direct deposit paychecks into savings. Or, just transfer the money on your own and consider it off limits as much as you can.
3. Save extra income
Extra income can be money given to you as a gift, tax refund, stimulus check, a work bonus or any other cash that comes your way that isn’t from your paycheck or other primary income source. It’s easy to spend this kind of extra cash right away. But if you’re able, try to save it instead of spending it. Sure, it’s easy to spend, but it’s just as easy to put that money in your savings account and watch it grow for another month.
4. Continue to pay down debt
It might not make an immediate impact this month, but continuing to pay down your debt can help you save more money in the long run. In fact, putting more of your money toward paying off debt this month will help you save more money because you’re saving on interest. Start with the snowball method to pay off your smallest debt first, then snowball that money into your next largest debt when it’s all paid off.
5. Record all your expenses
Often, people go through the entire month without ever realizing how much they’ve spent. This month, try to keep a running tally of all your expenses. That’s everything from your rent or mortgage payment to smaller things like quick stops to the coffee shop. Write down what you bought and how much it cost. Refer to it often and always keep your current total in mind. When you know exactly how much you’ve already spent, you can rein in your purchases and save more money.
6. Take advantage of discounts
Before you spend your money, consider looking for any discounts that might be available to you. Seniors, students, and members of the military often also qualify for special savings and discounts on phone bills, subscriptions services, and more. Check your emails and mail for any discount codes or coupons. You can even search online or look directly on retailer’s sites to see if they’re currently offering any discounts or sales. See if you can save some money this month with any special offers.
7. Try a financial fast
This month, challenge yourself to stop spending money on anything that’s non-essential. So anything that you don't absolutely have to buy to make it through the month, wait to buy it. Make a game of it. Challenge family members or friends and compete to see who can spend less money this month.
8. Sell your stuff
The average American home has about 300,000 possessions. That’s a lot of stuff! Chances are you have a few things laying around your house that are both valuable and no longer used. Modern online marketplaces offer convenient ways to gauge the value of your stuff and put it up for sale. From musical instruments and electronics to old video games and toys, if you have anything that’s no longer used and no longer brings you joy, consider giving it a new home and increasing your savings in the process.
9. Use a few online shopping tricks
For a month, consider removing all the online retailer apps from your phone. While you’re at it, consider removing your saved payment information from these sites too. When you don’t have the Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc. apps on your phone, you spend less time browsing for things you never knew you needed. And when you have to take that extra step to input your payment information, sometimes you realize you can save your money instead. Try it for a month. You can always redownload the apps and re-input your payment information next month.
10. Take advantage of market conditions
Current interest rates and mortgage rates are at historic lows. That means you might be able to save money every month (and long term) by refinancing your existing loans. Talk to your lender to see if a refinance makes sense for you and your circumstances.
Try these 10 tips to save more money this month. Pick a few that resonate with you, or try some that don’t sound as fun and challenge yourself to follow through with each goal. If they help you save at the end of the month, consider incorporating them into your regular financial practices.