18 Top Money Moves if Your Resolution Is to Save More Money

Try these effective ways to trim your expenses and build up savings.

Couple looking at savings
Updated June 6, 2024
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Saving more money is the most popular New Year’s resolution — even more than exercising! Considering that just over a third of Americans could cover a $400 emergency, this is a wise goal for many households.

If building up your emergency fund or saving for a major purchase is at the top of your to-do list for 2024, we’ve got some ideas to get you started.

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Reevaluate your regular spending

Mego-studio/Adobe multi ethnic couple reviewing budget

We often think of certain expenses as fixed and unchangeable, such as your car payment, rent, cell phone bill, and so on. In reality, any of these could be changed by shopping around, switching providers, or downsizing your car or house.

Scrutinize each line item in your budget and ask yourself if you could make a switch to something less expensive and if it would be worth the effort to do so. It could help you avoid wasting money.

Use cash back credit cards

Prostock-studio/Adobe A lady is clutching a debit card for online shopping.

We often think of credit cards as an enemy of saving money, but they don’t have to be. If you pay off your balance each month, credit cards that offer cash back can be a helpful tool in your financial arsenal.

Great cash back credit cards allow you to get a refund on money you’d be spending anyway.

Use cashback apps

fizkes/Adobe woman uses smartphone

If credit cards are problematic for you, no matter — you can still get cash back on many online purchases through browser extensions and apps like Rakuten, TopCashBack, and Capital One Shopping.

Each offers different cashback rates for different merchants, and these rates change often. You won’t stock your emergency fund this way, but every little bit helps.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

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Track spending

Katleho Seisa/peopleimages.com/Adobe budget and paying bills online

It’s hard to make changes when you’re not monitoring your spending patterns. Tracking your spending each month can help you see where your money is really going.

Dividing your spending by category can reveal which areas you’re keeping expenses low and which ones are too high. Once you get your trouble spots in check, you can redirect that money to savings.

Open a high-yield savings account

InsideCreativeHouse/Adobe taking notes on laptop

A silver lining of the Federal Reserve’s recent rate hikes is that savings account interest rates have gone up. Certain banks and credit unions offer rates above 5% on savings accounts, which boosts your savings balance without any additional effort or risk.

We’ve done the hard part for you. Check out these top high-yield savings accounts.

Open a CD

Studio Romantic/Adobe couple meeting with bank manager

If you don’t need access to your savings for a while, consider opening a CD. These rates tend to be slightly better than those on savings accounts, and the structure of the account incentivizes you to keep the money locked away.

Get your company’s 401(k) match

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe 401K plan on white paper at table

For long-term savings, few ways are as effective as contributing to your 401(k) to get a company match.

This money is yours for the taking and part of your compensation package. If your employer offers a match, you can double your savings dollars.

Automate your savings

makibestphoto/Adobe student studies online on laptop

Sometimes the best way to save money is to take the decision-making out of it.

Set your savings on autopilot with automatic withdrawals from your paycheck or checking account. When you configure your finances this way, your default mode will be to save money.

Cancel subscriptions

MichaelJBerlin/Adobe DAZN sports streaming app from an iPhone X

Are you being charged for a free trial you neglected to cancel? Do you have duplicate streaming services? If so, you’re not alone.

Many of us have a subscription service we no longer use. Get rid of these budget leeches by doing an audit of your subscriptions once a quarter and canceling any unused ones.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Use a round-up savings app

fizkes/Adobe man using smartphone at home

These apps use psychology to trick you into saving money. They round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and then put the difference in a savings or investment account.

You don’t notice a few cents from each purchase going to savings, so your money grows without you even realizing it.

Join a savings challenge

Mediteraneo/Adobe friends talking and laughing

This can be a fun way to jazz up your savings efforts. Try a no-spend month (where you spend money only on essentials for 30 days) or weather Wednesdays (where you look up the high temperature in your local area and put that many dollars in savings).

Make a visual reminder

H_Ko/Adobe man grabbing jar full of money

Having something tangible you can see to remind you of your savings goal and track your progress can be very motivating.

This could be marbles in a jar or a paper chain. Even a simple picture of a thermometer that you color in as you save can gamify the experience, making it more fun.

Cook meals at home

Lumos sp/Adobe african american father cooking

The average American household spends $3,639 per year eating out. This represents a huge opportunity to redirect those funds to other financial goals. Reserving restaurants for special occasions (rather than convenience) can save you a ton.

Stash your tax return

JohnKwan/Adobe income tax return document

While there are plenty of merchants luring you to spend your tax return on a luxury purchase, resisting the urge to splurge is a positive move for your New Year’s resolution to save.

The average tax return is around $3,000, so dumping it straight into savings would allow you to make quick progress on your goal.

Shop at discount or second-hand stores

AntonioDiaz/Adobe cheerful friends at the thrift shop

Do some digging to find the cheapest food and clothing prices. They may be at scratch-and-dent grocery stores that you don’t normally go to, a local second-hand or consignment shop, or an ethnic market you’re not familiar with.

Go off the beaten path of your regular shopping routine to explore what deals are out there. You may be overpaying without realizing it.


Drobot Dean/Adobe happy young friends driving car

What’s the fastest way to reduce your spending on transportation? Cut it in half by riding with a friend and splitting the cost.

You’ll reduce your carbon footprint while you’re at it. If carpooling doesn’t work out, consider public transit. Your employer may even offer a free bus pass.

Pay down credit cards

Farknot Architect/Adobe woman picking credit card to make payment

Interest can be an invisible drain on your budget, dampening your ability to save money.

Give your savings a boost by paying down high-interest debts, such as credit cards. Once your balances are lower, you’ll have more cash to stash away in savings.

Consider one of the best balance transfer credit cards to get started!

Start a side hustle

arsenii/Adobe pro gamer blogger shooting vlog while playing video game

Cutting expenses is only one piece of the savings puzzle; increasing your earnings through a side hustle or small business could give you more money to save. If your main goal is to save money, consider a side gig that requires minimal startup costs.

Bottom line

Brian Jackson/Adobe piggy bank savings

Most of the ways to save more money aren’t new or complicated, but they all involve time, commitment, and intention. In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.”

The hardest part about saving money is deciding to do it. You don’t have to do all or even most of these. Your savings is built slowly and steadily over time. Small, consistent contributions eventually and inevitably grow into great wealth.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson

Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.