Who doesn’t love a good bargain? It’s hard not to pursue that highly satisfying feeling of saving money on essential purchases. And when you’re on a budget, that feeling is even more gratifying. Why not make that a regular occurrence with a plan to save $50 each week?
“What do you think $50 a week is worth? It’s $2,600 a year, but when you start adding in interest, it grows very quickly,” says Brandon Small, a financial analyst and certified public accountant in Minneapolis.
You can easily accomplish this significant savings goal and invest in the future by making a few changes to your current lifestyle. Use these tips to get started:
- Use Vouchers
You spend money every week, but you’re probably not taking advantage of the many savings opportunities available. Both manufacturers and retailers offer vouchers for their products on a regular basis.
Vouchers are available in your Sunday newspaper, online discount sites, and on retailer and manufacturer websites. The next time you go to make a purchase online, look up relevant discount codes that will allow you to save money and clip vouchers from the Sunday paper for your weekly grocery run.
- Eliminate Monthly Expenses
Take a magnifying glass to your current monthly budget and identify unnecessary monthly expenses. For example, you might be paying for a gym membership that you never use or an insurance policy for a tech product that you got rid of months ago. Eliminate these extras and make more room in your budget.
- Pay Down Debt to Reduce Interest
It’s not uncommon for individuals to rely on debt. In the U.K. the average debt is £8,000 per person, not including the mortgage. When all is said and done, you’re likely spending hundreds per year on interest for your various loans.
The only way to reduce interest charges is to pay your debt faster. Double your payments made to principal, and you’ll cut your loan term and the subsequent interest in half.
- Use Automated Investing Apps
Many families have the capacity to save regularly, but they simply don’t think about it. Setting up a savings account and finding ways to invest takes time, and automated investing apps can help.
Apps like Acorn take your spare change from every debit card transaction and put it into a savings account for you. You can also have it automatically deduct a certain dollar amount each week. If you’d like, you can ask it to invest small amounts to gain interest earnings on your savings.
- Apply for a Cash Rewards Credit Card
You’re making hundreds or even thousands of dollar’s worth of purchases every month for your family, including paying the mortgage, buying groceries, shopping for school, purchasing holiday gifts, and supporting your kids’ sporting activities. Why not make a little money back?
Apply for a cash rewards credit card, which gives you points for each purchase. After you’ve built up a significant balance, spend those points on your online shopping or trade them in for gift cards. If used for every purchase, a credit rewards card could equal hundreds of dollars in savings.
- Reduce Your Entertainment Subscriptions
Many households have subscriptions to multiple entertainment services including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, and HBO on top of their cable subscription. Do you really need all of this entertainment? Consider reducing your subscriptions to just one or two of these services.
- Only Eat Out Once Per Month
The average household eats a commercially-prepared meal four to five times per week. This includes pizza delivery and the lunch you had at the office cafeteria. Eating out costs much more than preparing meals at home, so set a goal to only dine out once a month. This makes the occasion more fun for your family, and it pads your bank account.
- Try a Savings Challenge
A savings challenge helps you stay motivated and provides a plan for saving more money each year. You can set your own goals, but most savings challenges involve saving a certain dollar amount every week and increasing that amount regularly.
For example, start with $5 the first week and increase it to $10 the next week, $15 the following week, and so on. Within a year, you’ll be saving $260 per week, or a total of $7,000 in a year.
You can set your own savings challenge so that it’s manageable within your own budget, but it’s worth setting up for greater financial freedom.
- Shop Around for Better Insurance
Most insurance companies slowly increase your premium. You might not realize that you’re paying $100 more in car insurance this year than you did last year for the same coverage.
You can prevent these increases by shopping around regularly. Every six months to a year, get a few new quotes for your auto, home, and life insurance. When you find one you like, either switch to a new company or ask your current company to match the new rate.