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Last Updated: 18th July 2021

29 Easy Ways and Actionable Tips to Start Saving

People often ask themselves, why bother saving money? After all, money is made to be spent right? Not really.

Written by: Piggyy

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There are lots of reasons to save money and once you start saving and seeing great results, you will likely never go back to spending all the money you make.

 

In this article, we will go over some of the main reasons to save your money, as well as actionable tips to get started saving today!

 

 

Reasons for Saving

 

Emergency Fund

 

While not very exciting, building up your emergency fund is arguably the most important item to save for. Once you save enough for a full emergency fund, then you should move on to saving for subsequent goals. This allows you to weather any unforeseen expenses or cover you in case you lose your job unexpectedly.

How much should you save in an emergency fund?

It is often recommended to have at least 3 months’ worth of expenses saved; ideally 6 months.

The best benefit of an emergency fund is the peace of mind it affords you. You can sleep easy knowing no matter what financial issues may occur in the future, you will be more than covered for them.

Investment Savings

 

There is a strong argument to be made that investment savings are the second most important savings goal behind an emergency fund. Saving and investing your money should be your priority as soon as you finish filling up your emergency fund.

 

When you invest your money you are buying yourself assets that will grow and earn you money over time. It’s like buying yourself your own raise!

 

While these amounts may seem small and insignificant at first, over time they will grow exponentially and eventually build your net worth enough to be able to live off of your investment portfolio alone. Investing is purchasing yourself money and income in the future, essentially buying yourself more freedom when the time comes.

 

The best investment to make with all these savings is likely low-cost index funds. Buy a total world stock market index such as VT by Vanguard. This will give you the returns of every stock market in the world, providing great diversification and a portfolio you can buy and hold for the rest of your life stress-free.

 

Large Purchase

 

Now that you have your financial basics covered (emergency fund and investing), you can start putting a portion of your savings towards items you just want to buy for fun. 

 

This could be a large purchase such as a new bike, hot tub, TV, or anything that makes you happy and improves your life.

 

Most people opt to buy these pricy items on credit, however, this is an incredibly expensive way to purchase things. Paying 10-20% interest on the items you buy makes them significantly more expensive, and those monthly payments will heavily drag down your ability to save.

 

Instead, make the smarter decision and save a consistent amount monthly towards big purchases. This will allow you to buy them in full and avoid interest payments, and will likely make you happier with whatever you buy since you will feel as if you have worked hard and earned it by buying it with your hard-earned savings. 

 

Car

 

Another great use for your long-term savings is buying yourself a car. As mentioned above, it is much better to buy a car with cash that you have saved up than take on a large car loan and pay monthly interest on it. 

 

Buying a car in cash saves you lots of money and you will be able to sell it to someone else when you are done with it for close to the amount you paid.

 

Make sure to save 20-30% above the price you want to pay for your car just in case you need to pay for a few repairs if something goes wrong. You wouldn’t want your savings goals to get knocked off track due to an unlucky mechanical issue!

Vacation

 

By far one of the most rewarding things to save for is a vacation. Getting together with family and friends in a foreign location, or even just a quick getaway in your own country is hard to beat.

 

You could save for a quick 1 or 2-week vacation, or save up to take an extended leave of 6 months or a year. The world truly is your oyster. Studies also show the anticipation of planning a trip and waiting to go on it makes us almost as happy as the trip itself. Talk about a win-win!

 

Retirement

 

This goes hand in hand with saving to invest. Retirement is probably the most important financial goal we all strive for in our lives. The key to successful retirement saving is to save and invest consistently over the course of your working years.

 

Ignore what people tell you about the market, whether it is stocks being too dangerous or a crash coming. Just invest each month when you get paid and you will be rewarded handsomely with more than enough to live comfortably once you decide to retire.

 

Debt Repayment

 

Debt repayment is one of the most important uses of savings by far. While it is not nearly as exciting as saving for a large purchase or vacation, it is far more rewarding in the long run.

 

Having debt is a constant drag on your finances and will slow down your progress to wealth immensely. Thus paying off your debt is often the priority once you have your emergency fund covered.

 

Paying off your debt also immediately makes you a return on your money, as you are avoiding the interest payments on your debt that will steal more and more of your money each year.

 

Education

 

Going to school is one of the most common uses of savings and for good reason. Going to a technical school or university for a subject that interests you is one of the best ways to invest in yourself. There are also other great ways to invest in your education such as online certificates or courses to learn new skills.

 

Spending your savings on education makes you more employable and will allow you to get into a career you enjoy more and likely with much more room to grow. This investment can make great returns as you will likely make much more over your lifetime as a result of your education than you ever spent on achieving it.

 

Home Ownership

 

Another incredibly common use of savings is to prepare for a down payment on a house. Most people opt to own a home instead of rent for a multitude of reasons. Once you have run the numbers and decided you want to buy and not rent, you need to be saving to purchase a home.

 

By making a consistent monthly contribution to your “new home fund” you can end up with enough for a down payment for your dream home in a matter of a few years. In the meantime, you can be running the numbers, looking at potential properties, and working out the logistics. By the time your savings plan is complete, you should be prepared mentally and financially to own your very own home!

 

Disability-Related Expenses

 

While this may be a much less exciting and even concerning expense to save for, it is still worth thinking about. You can never truly know when an accident or unforeseen condition may arise, so it is best to be prepared in advance. 

 

While you should have insurance coverage in case of a potential disability, you will likely want some savings to cover any extra costs. This can be included in your emergency fund or be saved separately depending on personal taste. While we all hope nothing will ever happen to us, we can never be sure, and thus it is best to always be prepared financially.

 

General Savings

 

Last but certainly not least we have just general savings. This is often the most neglected of all the things to save for since it is so intangible. 

 

However, there is no better feeling than discovering something you need or want to spend money on and knowing you have a general savings fund ready for this scenario exactly.

 

Maybe a great business opportunity just jumped up and you want to hop in. Maybe you get early access to some cool new tech and need some money quickly. There is no way to know what situation may arise or when it may arise, so it certainly never hurts to have some general savings to jump on any great opportunities!

 

Tips to start saving today!

 

Now that we have laid out the many reasons and benefits of saving, let’s look at some actionable ways to get started saving more today.

 

Set saving goals

 

The first step to saving is setting specific goals. Goals allow you to be specific in your actions as well as recognize and celebrate your results. 

 

Here are some examples of good savings goals

  • Save an extra $100 this month
  • Spend $50 less on eating out this month
  • Negotiate my phone bill down by $20 a month

 

Cut down on groceries

 

Groceries are one of the big three (housing, transportation, food) when it comes to spending. While they can’t be avoided completely, you would be surprised at how much you can cut your grocery bill monthly to rocket towards your saving goals.

 

Here are some great ways to save on groceries monthly…

  • Don’t shop while you’re hungry
  • Buy healthier ingredients to make healthier meals. Vegetables and natural foods are more filling and often cheaper
  • Have a monthly meal plan and stick to it
  • Buy in bulk

 

Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships.

 

So many people have more monthly subscriptions than they are even aware of. Canceling the ones you don’t need is an easy way to start saving a good chunk of change each month towards your financial goals!

 

Reduce energy costs

 

It is incredibly common to overspend on electricity bills. Whether it is from leaving lights on all day, heating or cooling the house more than necessary, or any other random electricity use we don’t need. It’s best to do a monthly review when your bill comes in and double-check that everything you use electricity on is making your life better. If not, it is likely a good idea to cut back.

 

Check your insurance rates

 

If you call your insurance company once per year and negotiate your rates, or even better switch to a new company, you will likely be able to save up to $100 a month. This is a great saving strategy as you get the same outcome for much less money per month. If there was ever a free lunch when it came to saving money, this is it.

 

Pack lunch (and eat at home)

 

If you add up all the money spent eating out just 3 times a week for lunch, you could easily be spending $200 or more monthly just for the privilege of not making lunch before you leave for work. While this may be worth it for you, it is worth considering making lunch the majority of the time as it could really accelerate your path towards your savings goals.

 

Skip the coffee shop

 

Just like packing a lunch for work, making coffee at home may seem like it’s not worth it, but those $5 daily expenses add up. This is once again a very minor sacrifice you can make to save $200 or even more each month towards your savings goals. 

 

Ask yourself what would make you happier, that coffee daily or an extra vacation each year?

 

Try a staycation instead of a vacation abroad

 

People often spend extravagantly on exotic vacations and have never truly explored around the area they live in! You can get tons of enjoyment with a staycation at home or nearby in your current city. Try some local sightseeing or check out nature and you might just find your local area to be as exciting as a foreign country!

 

This of course comes with the bonus of saving you potentially thousands of dollars for the year which can greatly accelerate your savings.

 

Sell everything (that doesn’t bring you joy).

 

This strategy is another win-win, as not only do you make extra money to contribute to your goals, but you declutter your house as well!

 

Most people are amazed at the amount of money they can make from selling their old items locally on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist. Get started by listing everything you haven’t used in the past 3 months. If you don’t use it now you won’t miss it when it’s gone. 

 

Plus you will be much happier saving that money and putting it to meaningful use than you would have been holding old items in your house for no reason.

 

Consider cutting back on rent

 

Housing is the number one cost of living for most people in the world. Finding creative ways to cut down on this cost can create huge monthly savings and put you on the fast track to your financial goals.

 

Here are a few examples of how you can reduce your housing expenses…

  • House hacking (buy a house and rent out rooms or the basement)
  • Downsizing
  • Living in a van or RV
  • Finding a roommate to split the bill with

 

Use the 30 Day Rule for a Large Purchase

 

Whenever you are going to make a significant purchase, often you end up buying off of impulse and not using logic. Instead, use the 30-day rule. This means if you are going to make a big purchase, wait 30 days, and then if you still want it: buy it. 

 

Lots of the items we want are just temporary wants because of our human impulses. Using your rational mind by waiting a few weeks and then seeing if you still want something can save you hundreds or thousands a year by avoiding purchases you didn’t want anyway.

 

Do you have a Mortgage? Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage

 

Just like your insurance or other monthly bills, why not take a look at your mortgage payment too? By checking every couple of years if you can find a better deal on your mortgage you could save yourself a few hundred dollars a month with an afternoon of work.

 

Maintain Your Home and Car

 

Learning how to DIY a few repairs and home improvements will go a long way throughout your life. Whether it is fixing a leaky pipe or changing your oil, each of these can save you a hundred dollars or more each time you do it. 

 

Next time you have something that needs repair ask yourself, would I do this myself if someone paid me $100? If so then you might as well DIY it and pay yourself that $100 by saving it!

 

Switch to a Cheaper Cell-Phone Plan

 

Cell phone plans are one of the most costly monthly expenses out there, and yet we barely ever seem to think about reducing them! 

 

Renegotiate your contract with your service provider or switch to a different one that offers better deals to new customers. A few minutes of negotiation could save you almost half of your monthly bill per month. 

 

Hate negotiations? Look up some scripts on the internet that will help guide you along to a better monthly bill!

 

Consider Cancelling Your Gym Membership

 

Spending a significant amount monthly for a gym can be a great idea if it gets you in shape and makes you happier. However, many people could be just as healthy buying a simple set of weights and working out at home. This also adds the convenience of not having to drive or walk to the gym every day. If you can make your life more convenient and also save a decent amount of money monthly, it seems like a great change to make.

 

Understand Food Spoilage

 

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to stop buying more than you end up eating. If you find that you are letting good food go to waste every couple of weeks, it may be a sign to cut down on your food spending. 

 

Try to only buy ingredients for meals you have planned to cook in the next week or two. It is also best to not buy large quantities of foods that perish quickly. Wasting food is bad for the environment and your wallet so why not try to avoid it as best as you can.

 

Buy Used

 

You would be amazed at the amount of money you can save on the items you purchase with a simple search on Craiglist or Facebook marketplace first. It is highly likely someone in your city has the exact item you want and is willing to part with it for well under half of the retail price.

 

When you add up these savings over time you can find yourself saving thousands a year and still getting the exact same items you were going to buy. 

 

You can then level up this skill and sell some of your own unused items as mentioned earlier to purchase all of the stuff you want each year for essentially free, as your local sales balance out your local buys and you end up breaking even.

 

Consider taking Public Transportation

 

Whether you just want to save some money on gas monthly, or go completely carless and save hundreds on insurance and car payments, public transit can be a great way to increase your savings.

 

Public transit has its benefits too, you can read a book or be on your phone the whole ride and not worry about traffic or having to focus on the road. If you ditch your car you can also stop worrying about maintenance, tire changes, and insurance bills. 

 

Overall taking public transit can be incredibly helpful to your financial well-being as well as your happiness overall.

 

Teach Yourself Skills You Would Otherwise Pay For

 

Things like painting, lawn care or even just assembling furniture or setting up electronics, are all often outsourced for a fee because we don’t want to bother learning. While each of these costs may seem minor at the time, as you pay for more and more things you could do yourself these costs add up significantly!

 

Not only can learning these skills save you significant money, but they can also be quite fulfilling and keep you more engaged and happy in your life as well.

 

Refinancing your Auto Loan

 

Car loans are one of the biggest expenses on average for families nowadays. By finding the best deal on your car loan you can squeeze out some extra monthly savings with a small amount of upfront work.

 

Ideally, you would buy a car without a loan as then you would avoid this monthly cost completely, keep this in mind next time you go shopping for a new car!

 

Use an Online Low Fee Bank

 

One of the most frustrating and useless ways to spend money is to let it be drained from your account in bank fees. There are a plethora of banks out there nowadays that pride themselves on never charging you any fees. If these options exist why bother sticking with one that does charge fees?

 

Many banks charge near or above $20 a month in fees, with lots of miscellaneous fees on top if you overdraft or do something oddly specific that they conclude you should pay for. Free yourself from these unnecessary chains and never pay a bank fee again. 

 

While switching banks is an annoying process, it is worth the hundreds in yearly savings as well as the peace of mind of no more fees.

 

How to Earn More Money to Save Monthly

 

The cookie jar approach

 

Cookie jar budgeting is gaining momentum in the world of personal finance as of late, mostly due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

 

It is a method of budgeting where you lay out your cash for each month in separate jars, such as transportation, food, eating out, entertainment, shopping, etc.

 

You pre-allocate all the money you will spend for that month and thus cannot overspend. It also allows you to constantly see the amount you have left to put spending into perspective and force you to only spend when it is most effective for you. 

 

The simplicity of this strategy allows it to make sense and work immediately, while its incredible effectiveness will allow you to save hundreds monthly and teach you how to properly allocate your monthly resources.

 

Take up a side hustle

 

Side hustles have become an incredibly popular topic of conversation over the past few years. They provide a great way to earn some money for saving as well as giving you some engaging ways to spend your free time.

 

Here are a few examples of side hustles you can start right away…

  • Pet sitting
  • Delivery driving
  • Flipping local items
  • Lawn mowing or power washing
  • Metal Scrapping

 

Monetize Your Passion

 

Another great and very fulfilling way to spend some of your extra time is cultivating your passions, then eventually monetizing them. While this does take much longer to build up and eventually profit from than the typical side hustles mentioned above, it can be much more rewarding as well.

 

Some examples of interests you can cultivate and monetize are:

  • Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Video editing
  • Podcasting
  • DIY Building

 

Round-Up Your Payments

 

This is the most simple set it and forget it method to start saving more money you could ask for. You simply enable round-up payments either with your bank or with an app that rounds up and saves or invests for you. 

 

Once you enable this setting you will be saving more every day on autopilot without you even noticing. There is no easier way to start saving more right away than rounding up on the money you are spending already.

 

Use a Budgeting App or money-saving app

 

Applications like Mint can automatically track your spending via credit and debit cards. They collect and organize this data automatically so you have a clear picture of your financial wellness with very little effort from you. 

 

This will show you exactly where all your money is going, allowing you to make conscious decisions about where your money is best allocated and areas you can cut spending to save more towards your goals.

 

Saving The Money You Already Have

 

Often overlooked is the ability to simply save the money we already have. It is typical to look at the money we haven’t spent yet sitting in our checking account and wonder what to buy with our leftovers. 

 

Instead, you can shift your mindset so you would prefer to save any extra money leftover in your checking account.

 

The best way to do this is to get excited about saving. Whether it’s because you want to invest to get more cash flow and growth for your future or to save towards your next vacation or big purchase. 

 

Save for something that excites you and you will be happy to save that extra money away monthly instead of looking for something frivolous to spend it on.

 

How to Grow Your Monthly Savings

 

Now that you are saving plenty of money monthly, the next step is to start growing these savings! Money makes money, and this is the best and most motivating reason to save by far.

 

The more money you build up in your savings and investments the more annual income you can receive just from the interest of the money you have saved up. This means the more you have saved, the more you get paid for doing nothing!

 

Here are some of the best ways to earn a return on your savings and grow them immensely over time.

 

High-interest savings accounts

 

High-interest savings accounts are a great place to hold savings you might need in the short run. They provide a bit of a return on your money but that is not entirely the point. They are best for holding money you aren’t sure if you will need soon but might need unexpectedly, like an emergency fund.

 

Here are some things you would hold money in a high-interest savings account for

  • Emergency fund
  • Savings for a new car this year
  • Saving for a down payment on a house soon

 

What to look for in a high-interest savings account:

  • Greater than 1% annual interest
  • Insured by the government (FDIC)
  • Trustworthy company
  • Can get your money out quickly if needed

 

Retirement Accounts

 

Retirement accounts are the bread and butter of saving and investing. Putting away a monthly contribution to your retirement can be set up automatically so it is quick and painless as you never even see the money in your account. 

 

It is best to pick a low-cost index fund such as VT or VTI and put all your retirement savings into there. The key is low costs and broad diversification.

 

This set it and forget it approach will amass you an incredible fortune be to be waiting whenever you decide to retire. It is extra powerful because the automatic contributions allow it to grow almost unnoticed to you, and its long-term holding nature means you are unlikely to sell in and out of positions and make unforced errors.

 

Investing

 

Investing is the ultimate way to grow your savings. It is the only way real wealth has been created throughout history and is the most powerful tool you could ask for when attempting to grow savings.

 

The simplest way to invest is in low-cost index fund ETFs. This means you buy a stock that holds a small part of many underlying companies. You can buy ETFs that track the entire US stock market or even the entire global stock market. These ETFs remove any company-specific risk and allow you to benefit from the profits of the entire world economy as it grows steadily year after year.

 

The point of investing is putting your money in productive assets that create a return for you. This allows you to access the power of compound interest. Your initial savings will earn interest and grow larger, then that larger amount earns interest and grows larger and so on and so on. 

 

This creates a snowball effect where your wealth grows exponentially bigger and faster as time goes on. The best thing you can do is start investing a portion of your savings now to get the snowball rolling. It may start small but it always ends up much larger than you would expect.

 

Conclusion

 

Saving is a tricky and intimidating topic for most people. They often associate it with depriving themselves, sacrificing happiness, and following a strict budget. Contrary to these beliefs though, saving can be quite exciting and make your life much happier instead!

 

When you create great savings goals that get you excited, follow simple actionable tips to save more, and start growing your savings exponentially, saving often becomes as exciting as spending!

Piggyy

״The secret of happiness, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less״ - Socrates

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