Growing your savings account is a smart goal for 2023, but doing so seems an overwhelming task for many.
If you want to know how to reduce financial stress and save more money, try these tips. They take a little effort but could result in big rewards by the end of the year.
Evaluate your spending
Before you can save money, you will need to know what you're spending it on. Keeping track of everything you buy will help you determine where you can cut costs.
To be effective, you should track everything, no matter how small. That means documenting every cup of coffee, slice of pizza, and rented movie.
Evaluate where your money is going and see which things you’re willing to sacrifice. There are great budgeting apps that can do this for you.
Put your money in a high-interest savings account
Opening a savings account at your bank is a good idea in general. With that money stashed away in a separate account, it is easier not to spend it. While your cash sits there, you might as well be earning interest on it.
Choosing a high-yield savings account can give you better returns on your money. For the best results, deposit as much money as possible and shop around for the best rates.
Set savings goals
Having savings goals is important for things like an emergency fund, a downpayment on a home, and a retirement plan. If you want to see if you can retire early, account for that in your long-term plan.
Setting smaller goals can help you meet your larger ones. Determine how much you need to save each week to meet your year-end savings goal. You'll feel more accomplished and less tempted to splurge.
Pay off high-interest debt
When money is tight, you want to minimize what you are paying in interest. You should consider paying down all debt that accumulates interest, but taking care of the high-interest debt first will save you more money.
In the future, opting for low-interest credit cards and loans will better help you meet your savings goals. In fact, paying off your credit card balance every month — and avoiding interest — is a great habit to get into.
If your credit score is preventing you from qualifying, paying down your debt now might help with that too.
Limit credit card spending
Paying with a credit card might feel less painful than paying with cash or your debit card. After all, that money can be paid later. It's often easy to overspend when you are spending borrowed money.
But accumulating credit card balances could increase your interest payments, and high credit utilization could lower your credit score, making it more difficult to get better rates in the future. It’s better to limit credit card spending and pay off your balance each month.
Compare car insurance quotes
If you’ve been with your current car insurance company for a while, consider shopping around. Another company might offer you a better price, saving you hundreds of dollars.
The small amount of time it takes to compare quotes is worth the extra money in your pocket.
Other factors can result in lower quotes as well. Maybe you are paying for more coverage than you need or have taken a defensive driving course. Car insurance rate comparison tools make the process fast and easy.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk typically results in big savings. If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, purchasing smaller packages probably feels more affordable, but those costs add up.
Stock up on items you use a lot when you can, but only on non-perishable items and things you're going to use.
Compare the price per unit for smaller packages and larger ones to see how much money you can save.
Make a list (and stick to it)
According to Statista, individual consumers in America average more than $300 on impulse spending every month. You can avoid making impulse purchases by making a list of the things you need before going to the store.
Purchasing only the items on the list will prevent you from purchasing extras you don’t need.
Shop for phone plans
Many cellular companies offer new customers better deals. They might offer a free phone or a reduced monthly price. Many will even buy you out of your current contract.
Shopping for other phone plans is also smart if your needs have changed. Another company might offer a better bundle if you need to add a line, remove one, or simply want more data.
Limit trips to the store
Limiting trips to the store will not only help you spend less, but it will save on gas costs as well. Doing your shopping once a week or once every two weeks will make that tank of gas last longer.
Shopping less often can also reduce your trips through the drive-through and/or eating out in general. If you often grab lunch while you’re out and about, there is some more money that can be put into your savings.
Reduce home utility costs
Preparing your home for the weather can result in significant savings. With rising electricity and heating costs, making changes in your home will save you even more than in previous years.
Simple things like sealing drafty areas, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and ensuring your equipment is running properly will reduce your monthly bills. You can also try turning your hot water heater down and shutting lights off when you leave a room.
Cancel free trials
Free trials are tempting, but it is easy to sign up and forget to cancel them. This is especially true when you don’t use the service throughout the trial period.
Of course, you could try to resist signing up for free trials you don’t need in the first place. But if you do sign up for them, keep track of what they are and when they end.
Sign up for billing discounts
Some companies offer discounts for paperless billing or automatic payments. This only takes a few minutes of your time and will save you money every month.
It also avoids any potential for late payments if you forget to make a payment or accidentally throw the bill into your junk drawer.
Avoid banking fees
You can save money just by changing your banking habits. Start with reviewing your bank’s fees. Common fees include ATM withdrawals, overdrafts, and instant transfers.
Using in-network ATMs or withdrawing cash from a teller will save you double the fees since ATMs usually have a charge of their own.
Many online payment platforms provide an option for instant deposits, but this service typically costs money. It is wise to wait a few days and receive all of your cash if you can.
Who wouldn’t want to save more? More than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, but there are many ways to grow your bank account without making you miserable.
Saving is hard, especially since your cost of living never seems to go down. But following these tips can help get you started.