Below are 12 ways to help you save some money and reach your financial goals quicker.
Pay Yourself First
1. Many people will set up pre-authorized bill payments with their creditors, but fail to pay themselves first. Pay yourself first – set up automatic savings. Link your chequing account to your savings account and state the amount and frequency of your savings to be transferred. Speak to your financial institution for more information on setting this up.
Stop wasting food & start using a grocery list
2. The average American wastes 20% or more of the groceries they purchase each month. That is equivalent to coming out of the grocery store with 5 grocery bags and leaving one of the bags in the parking lot and driving home. The reason is, many people go out to do grocery shopping without a list. Inevitably, we purchase more items than we need. A shopping list helps keep you focused on your current household needs; it can help you budget and foresee your spending and savings. Make a grocery list, check flyers for savings, and stick to your list.
Implement an effective weekly meal plan
3. Another great way to save some money and reduce wastage of food is to implement an effective weekly meal plan. Most North American households spend a total of one hour a day figuring out what they will eat. Meal plans not only save some money, they save plenty of time. When you plan your meals, you take off the stress of figuring out what to cook each day. Meal planning offers savings by effectively utilizing the grocery items purchased for that particular week. Check out Cook Smarts for effective meal plan ideas.
Sign up for store reward programs
4. Some companies offer their customers the option to sign up for loyalty rewards. If you shop at a store frequently (i.e. local grocery store) you can earn a lot of reward points that can translate into savings throughout the year. For example, my husband and I spend about $540/month ($6,480/year) on groceries. From this, we receive $220-$400 during the year in savings through our grocery rewards program. That is almost a month’s worth of free groceries.
Implement the 72-hour rule:
5. To keep from making impulse purchases, avoid buying an item for 72 hours. After three days, re-evaluate your desire to make the purchase. Three out of four Americans make impulse purchases with 16% of Americans spending $500 or more on a purchase. Research shows that most people make impulse purchases when they are excited (49%), bored (30%), sad (22%), angry (9%) or intoxicated (9%). By giving yourself time to evaluate the purchase, you may find that you didn’t want to make the purchase and save yourself some money.
Ditch the taxi, grab an Uber
6. Taxi fares can drain your wallet, consider taking Uber the next time you go out and pay a fraction of the price. Uber charges 30%-50% less than a taxi would charge for an identical route.
Pack a lunch to work
7. According to Visa’s 2015 Consumer Survey, the average American spends $2,746 per year on eating out. It may be unrealistic to suggest never to eat out. However, let’s think about this; if the average American were to spend half this amount, this would translate to a $1,373 annual savings.
Don’t pay full price for group activities
8. Going out with friends is fun, but search online first before committing to pay full price. You can find great savings on online sites like Groupon that offer 10%-70% off activities and outings for two or more people.
Ditch your cable or satellite package
9. Cable and satellite packages can be costly. You can spend well over one thousand dollars a year, depending on packaged channels. There are streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video that offer alternative competitive programming. These services allow you to have content of your choosing at a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite. The introduction of smart televisions, and online streaming, allow you to unbundle yourself from products, services and costs you do not need. No rental equipment, no contract and affordable pricing translate into huge savings.
Switch to online financial institutions for your everyday banking needs.
10. Online financial institutions do not charge monthly bank fees and offer similar basic services to brick and mortar banks including: chequing & savings account, mortgages, Certificate of Deposits and much more. By switching to online banking and eliminating bank fees, this can translate to a savings of up to $20 a month.
Enroll in a round up savings plan with your financial institution
11. Some financial institutions and apps offer the option to have purchases rounded up to the next dollar. The difference is then transferred to a savings/investment account automatically. Acorn app is an example of a financial tech company that offers users the ability to link their credit and debit cards to an Acorn savings account. All purchases made on linked cards are rounded up to the next dollar and the difference transferred to your Acorn account. In 2014, Acorn account users averaged a savings of $7/day through this savings program. Since Americans makes an average of 56 debit transactions a month, this is a quick and painless way to same some money.
Enroll in company matched retirement savings program
12. If you contribute $200 each month towards your retirement and your company equally matches, that $400/month would translate into $62,113 in 10 years with a moderate 5% return. Not taking advantage of company matched retirement savings program is leaving money on the table.
Many people become overwhelmed with saving money. To reduce the anxiety, start saving small amounts each month ($5, $10, $20 etc.) to build your ‘savings muscle’. Then, keep saving – do not stop just keep building on from there. Once you make it a habit to save, it will become easier to increase the amount and thereby increasing your wealth.