Save. That is what everyone I know is trying to do. January comes and everyone has a new year to make better choices about their health, their money, and their relationships. A bunch of my friends are trying out some new ways to save money. Some even have more lofty goals like owning less or making time for relationships. So here are some of the ideas we are trying out to bring us a little more prosperity in 2018.
#1 – Save Your Spare Change:
If you are lucky enough to have an account with Bank of America, they have a great savings plan called, “Spare Change.” This plan allows you to round up all of your purchases and deposit the extra into a savings account. That Latte that costs you $4.75 simply adds 25 cents to your savings account. The idea here is to save money on the stuff you are already buying and start small. If you want to use an app that allows that spare change to go into investments, then Acorn is a pretty great app. Instead of going into savings, your spare change goes into the market. You can also opt to add money in at regular intervals or at any other time. Not bad for saving money that you don’t have to think about!
#2 – Try a Spending Challenge:
Much like any diet, this is a money diet. In a challenge like this, you opt not to spend money for 30 days. How extreme you take this is really up to you. Some people try to spend absolutely nothing, meaning they are eating whatever is in their cabinets and fridge for 30 days, while others go a bit more moderate like no shopping for clothes for 30 days. Most of us are right in the middle. We are currently trying to use most of what is in our cabinets, but haven’t given up going to the grocery store for necessities. If you are scared, try it for a week. You may not get too much money from your debit card’s spare change, but you might be excited to see an extra $35 in your account from a week of no Starbucks. Just sayin’
#3 – Sell Your Stuff:
If a little extra cash is what you need, then I bet you have enough stuff to sell! Last year I used ThredUp to sell a bunch of stuff I hadn’t worn in over two years and I made $50. I could either use that money or save it, but I like to look at it as found money! If you use the Facebook tag sale sites, you can make some quick cash as well. Lots of people are looking for just the item you have to sell. Most transactions are pretty easy if you stay local. The benefit to both of these sites is that you can also purchase items you need at a discounted rate. Looking for a new sled for your kid? Why spend $50 on a new one when you can score one on the tag sale for half (or even less) the price. I don’t use it for everything, but lots of great toys and outdoor items have been purchased that were in perfect condition and cost us almost nothing.
#4 – Stay out of the Grocery Store:
This is a tough one, but there are plenty of ways to work around it. One really great suggestion is to shop online for your groceries. Yes, both Peapod and ShopRite From Home have a fee, but consider the money you will spend if you don’t even have to go into the store. If you have your children with you, you can tack on some more added expenses and before you know it, you have gone way over budget. By shopping from home, you are definitely more intentional about your purchases. You can see what is on sale, do some math to figure out which item is a better buy, and watch the total cost as you add things to your cart. So many of my friends do this and have found that it saves them a fortune.
#5 – Pay Yourself First:
This is a tough one, but I have heard it from both my accountant friend and a financial planner. What does this mean? It means that the whole concept behind saving money doesn’t begin with leftovers. For example, if your goal is to save $5,000 for your annual family trip, that money should be paid into your savings before anything else. YIKES! That means before the lattes and the new sunglasses, the money must be paid to yourself (aka your savings account.) If you haven’t been doing this, start with a small and manageable number so you don’t become overwhelmed. If you need help getting started, check out my article on financial planning.
There are so many different ways to save and these are just a few examples. Whether you start big or small, making any positive change in the way you handle your family’s money is a step in the right direction!
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.