When it comes to saving money, the prospect can seem daunting at best and painful at worst. The key to saving money is to take small steps until you reach your goal. Try these easy and painless ways to set aside money each week and watch your savings account grow.
1. Convert to cash
Rather than pulling out your debit card when purchasing groceries and other items, use cash instead. Having a finite amount of money in your wallet to spend keeps you within budget and saves money. For instance, if you underspend your grocery budget by just $5 a week, you’ll save $260 in a year.
2. Brown-bag and brew it
Save money and your waistline by packing a lunch and brewing your own coffee everyday. Make the experience enjoyable by including your favorite foods and customizing your cup of Joe with various flavors. Then put the money you would have spent, in your savings account.
3. Analyze every purchase
Visualizing how you’ll use every item you buy might sound like a lot of work, but the savings can be substantial. If you can’t clearly see yourself using a new purchase, or if you realize that you have another item that fulfills the same purpose, it becomes a lot easier to save money by putting the item down and walking away.
4. Buy store brands
According to Consumer Reports Magazine, store brands taste the same as their name-brand counterparts but cost an average of 27 percent less, which gives you a no-brainer way to save money. Buy store brands and you can get the same amount of groceries for $73 that would cost $100 when composed of name-brands.
5. Conserve energy
Minor changes in how you use energy add up to big savings. Turn lights off when no one is in the room, use energy-efficient Energy Star compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less electricity, program your thermostat to only cool or heat when you’re at home, and unplug electronic devices when not in use. Any devices that light up even when they’re in the off position still use electricity.
6. Automate frequent savings withdrawals
Rather than waiting until the end of the month to come up with one lump sum for your savings account, set up automatic withdrawals bi-weekly. You’re much more likely to not even notice if $25 is withdrawn from your account twice a week, as opposed to a potentially painful $200 withdrawal at the end of the month.
Do you have any painless ways to save money that you’d like to share?
Photo Credit: Refracted Moments