If you have been finding it difficult to save money, don’t beat yourself up too much. You are not alone. In fact, according to a report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), more than half of the US population does not have emergency savings. In this article, we will give you tips for financial wellness and clever ways to save money.
You may also notice that you have been spending more on food, clothing, gas, and other necessities these days, making it harder for you to save for rainy days. There’s a solid reason for that. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average price of goods in the United States, increased by 6.5 percent from December 2021 to December 2022, the fastest increase since 2008. That means almost everything you buy now is more expensive.
It can be especially difficult to manage your finances when you are on a tight budget and commodity prices are rising. All hope is not lost, though. With the right attitude and a few practical tips, you can get started on effectively managing your money and achieving financial stability.
Let’s look at 7 clever ways to save money:
1. Go back to the basics
Use coupons, compare prices, and if you’re comfortable doing so, do your grocery shopping in-store rather than online. Grocery shopping in person allows you to compare and save on the spot. And you usually have more options and the ability to use coupons, shop sales, and receive additional discounts through store loyalty programs. Here are a few more grocery budgeting tips to help you save money:
- – As much as possible, choose generic products over brand-name items.
- – Increase the number of meatless meals in your family’s diet.
- – If you can get items at a lower unit price by buying in bulk, do so.
- – Plan budget-friendly meals using grocery store weekly sales flyers.
- – If you live in an area where farmers’ markets are available, do your shopping there.
- – Increase the amount of low-cost staples in your meals, such as pasta or rice.
2. Cut costs on barely-used services
While you created a budget to stick to, it is not always set in stone. Examine your main budget categories for areas where you can save money. Cut back to only the necessities for a few weeks (or months), if you can, to give yourself some breathing room.
Review your monthly subscriptions and eliminate unnecessary ones. According to a survey, the average household has four to five streaming services and spends $55 per month on them. Although it may not appear to be much, $55 per month adds up to more than $600 per year. If you’re looking to cut costs in the face of rising prices, canceling unused subscriptions is a good place to start.
3. Regularly check in with yourself
Among all the tips for financial wellness, this is probably the most overlooked. The only way to know whether your budgeting adjustments are working in your favor or against it is to do regular check-ins. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- – How much debt have I accumulated or paid off?
- – How much money have I saved so far?
- – What unnecessary bills have I gotten rid of?
- – Have I been updating my budget on a regular basis?
You may not always see positive progress, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you always have a clear idea of your current situation, as well as the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be. Feeling like you are being clever with your savings and that you are in control is important.
4. Make extra bucks
One of the most serious issues with rising prices and inflation is that wages do not keep pace. The Great Resignation of 2021 may have prompted some employers to raise wages. However, pay rates in the United States have been largely stagnant for decades.
Consider getting a side hustle to supplement your income, depending on your schedule and family needs. If that’s not feasible at the moment, you can also negotiate higher pay with your current employer or look for a new job with a higher salary. At home, you can clear out your closets, attic, and garage and hold a huge yard sale or sell them on direct selling apps.
5. Check your energy consumption
Taking into account how much energy you use at home and finding ways to cut costs as much as possible is another clever way to save money without too much effort. Here are simple ways to reduce energy consumption at home or on the road:
- – Cleaning and servicing your HVAC system in the spring and fall
- – Repairing air leaks near windows and doors
- – Using energy-saving light bulbs
- – When not in use, unplug electronics.
- – Lowering your thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer
- – Maintaining proper tire inflation
- – Consolidating car trips and following speed limits
- – Carpooling to save money on gas
6. Reduce rates on debts
Paying off debt, or making it less expensive, can help in the face of inflation. If you have credit card debt, check with your bank for 0% APR balance transfer offers or low-interest personal loans. A 0% balance transfer allows you to pay off your debts over time and interest-free.
Refinancing student loans can also help you get a lower interest rate, making monthly payments more manageable. However, keep in mind that refinancing federal loans to make them private loans may mean giving up some benefits and protections.
7. Consolidate your debts
Another way to manage multiple debts is to consolidate them – that is to pay off several debts with a new loan or credit transfer. A debt consolidation loan can help you reduce high-interest loan costs or even consolidate debts from multiple creditors. However, keep in mind that it does not eliminate the loan, but rather assists you in making the debt much more manageable.
Debt consolidation can be a good starting point in your journey toward financial wellness and debt-free life. Payment1 can help you understand debt consolidation and even find the best loan for your needs. Speak with our expert lending team today to see if you qualify for debt consolidation.