Money. You probably want more of it, right? We thought so.
But, in order to have more money, you likely need to save more and spend less. This isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve got oodles of bills to pay and mounting debt. Plus, if you’re just starting out in your career, you may not earn a ton of dough. For all these reasons and more, saving money may seem downright impossible.
We’re here to tell you that you can save money even if it doesn’t seem financially feasible. To help you get started, we asked our personal finance writers to offer up their 4 top money-saving tips. Take a look.
Comparison shop for the best deals
It’s amazing how much you can save simply by shopping around for the best deals. Take it from Chonce Maddox, founder of My Debt Epiphany.
“It’s common for people to shop around for deals on travel sites, but you can also do this for other things in your life,” says Maddox
For example, take a look at your bills and other regular expenses, including the money you spend to dine out. Then, set out to lower these costs by comparison shopping. This may include negotiating lower prices with your current providers, including your car insurance company and cell phone provider, says Maddox.
Saving money on services may seem like a given. But, why not take the same approach to your social life? Maddox says it’s possible to enjoy your same lifestyle while still saving money. Deal sites, like Groupon for example, offer steep savings on great restaurants and local activities.
Jackie Lam, a personal finance writer at Hey Freelancer, is also a big fan of bargain shopping while still enjoying life. Her pro tip: watch those subscription services and memberships and make sure to get rid of them if you’re not using them. And, if you can’t live without your subscription service, Lam suggests purchasing less than you need. “I always get less than I need as this way I know I’ll actually use it,” says Lam.
For example, Lam belongs to a co-working space and her membership allows for four visits a month. If she wants to go more often, she says she can always purchase additional visits. Lam says she rests easy knowing she isn’t throwing her money away.
Automate your finances to reach your goals
Talk to any personal finance expert and she will tell you the same thing: automation works. Our writers unanimously believe that automating is one of the best best ways to save money.
Melanie Lockert, founder of the blog Dear Debt, says she started automating by saving money each time she got paid. Lockert, also the founder The Lola Retreat, a money event for women, has now saved thousands of dollars by automating. She also saves for several different goals, including medical expenses and vacations.
“When your savings goals are clear, this motivates you to save more,” she says.
Lam at Hey Freelancer also saves for several goals and automatically transfers funds to her savings “buckets.” Lam’s buckets of money include savings accounts for specific goals like buying gifts, paying for taxes, having fun, and even buying and making art.
“Do as much as you can on autopilot,” says Lam.
Create a budget with room for fun money
Perhaps the best way to curb overspending and save more money is to create a budget and stick to it.
Once you have a budget, you’ll have a much better idea of how much much money you’re spending on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis. With this information, you can take a closer look at how you can spend less and save more.
Lindsay VanSomeren, a personal finance writer and founder of the blog Notorious D.E.B.T. was late to the budget game. Now married for 10 years, VanSomeren was deep in debt when she and her husband Zach started seriously saving three years ago.
“We came from so far behind,” says VanSomeren.
In order to start paying off their debt while saving money, the VanSomerens buckled down by budgeting. While sticking to a budget, they freed up funds to save for their goals, which included setting money aside to pay for expenses for their fur babies – two cats and a dog. The VanSomerens also created individual fun money funds. Each month they budget for and save $120 in each fund. They can spend it however they want – no questions asked.
“If he wants to go out and buy a video game, which I have no interest in, he can do that,” says VanSomeren.
Earn more money
It seems like earning more money would be an easy way to save more money. But, then again, you have to first figure out a way to actually make more money.
Kayla Sloan, a personal finance writer and freelance business coach, knows first-hand how difficult it is to earn enough income to save. In fact, less than three years ago, Sloan was working at a full-time job and had cut just about everything from her budget. There was just nothing left to save.
In the end, she found a niche with freelance writing and working as a virtual assistant. For a while, the money she was earning on the side helped her both save money and start to pay down her debt. Eventually, she quit her job as those side hustles turned into a full-time business. Sloan now lives within a budget, has nearly paid off all her consumer debt and has money left-over to save.
She also hasn’t given up on spending money – as long as she can do so within her budget. “I’m a big spender,” admits Sloan, adding that she loves spending on going out with friends.
The takeaway: Find a way to maximize your income. Then, instead of spending more than you have, budget for some spending money while putting the lion’s share into one or more savings accounts.
The final word
Regardless of how you choose to save money, it’s important to find a way that works for you and stay the course. Take it from our Chime writers: saving money takes discipline but it’s worth it. Why? You’ll stress less and achieve your money goals in the long-run. If we can do it, you can too!