Sneaky ways to save money when you don’t have any.
It’s not easy to save money, especially when you’re totally broke-ass. But here’s the thing: In order to stop being broke, you need to save money. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as it sounds, and over time you can create quite the little nest egg for yourself. Even small changes can make a huge difference.
Here’s how to save money within your itty bitty budget:
1. Ask for lower interest rates
No, but seriously. According to Bankrate, a national survey found that 56 percent of consumers who called credit card companies and asked for a lower interest rate had positive results:
“A five-minute phone call to your credit card issuer could save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in interest charges. ‘There’s no incentive for them to lower your rate unless you call. The squeaky wheel gets the oil,’ says Brad Dakake, a consumer advocate with Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.”
2. Keep your home organized
When your home is tidy, your entire life becomes more efficient: You’ll save time, since it won’t take you 20 minutes to find your other shoe. You’ll save money, since you won’t be buying things you think you’re out of, only to find you’ve got six months worth. You’ll also waste less across the board, which is a win for both you and the environment.
3. Make a game of it
Starting this week, deposit one dollar into your savings account. Next week, save two dollars. The following week, save three dollars, and so forth. One year from now, you’ll have a total of $1,378 in your emergency fund. Bam.
4. Shop with a list
When you go grocery shopping, bring a list of what you need to buy and stick to it. This tunnel vision approach to shopping will not only keep financial damage to a minimum, but help reduce food waste.
5. Deposit your paycheck into your savings
One of the reasons why we spend too much is because our cash is too easily accessible. If you’re struggling to save money, try depositing your paycheck into your savings account and only transfer money into your checking account as you need to pay bills. Since savings accounts only allow a certain number of withdrawals per month before service charges kick in, it can help you reduce frivolous spending. (And at the end of the month, the cash you don’t need is already in your savings.)
6. Treat your savings like a bill
Pay your savings account much like you would a bill, instead of treating it like an account you casually add money to when you can. Even depositing as little as five dollars per paycheck can go a long way toward building a solid emergency fund.
7. Cut the cord
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by cancelling your cable subscription. Just imagine not having to pay for duplicate or foreign channels anymore! Best of all, you can subscribe to services like Hulu Plus or Netflix to keep tabs on your fave shows without breaking the bank.
8. Use your credit card to your advantage
There are plenty of credit cards out there that allow you to earn points, which are then converted into cash. Since you’re going to be paying bills and buying groceries anyway, charge them to your card and use the extra earnings on a rainy day or in an emergency. You know, just remember to pay your card off every month.
9. Make more money
Many of us are so focused on how to cut costs (and often do so by sacrificing and denying ourselves) that we completely ignore the fact that there’s another side to the coin: Making more money. Instead of spending all of your time on new ways to deprive yourself, spend half thinking about new ways to save money, and half thinking about ways to earn more. When you become too strict with yourself, that’s when regretful splurges happen. (In fact, “Regretful Splurges” will probably be the name of my autobiography.)
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