Tips for saving money are everywhere you look, yet millions of Americans still struggle to set aside a portion of their earnings. If you’re looking for smarter ways to save money, keep reading!
In spite of the coronavirus pandemic and related economic fallout, an encouraging trend has emerged: Americans are saving significantly more. The personal savings rate hit a historic 33% in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which has been tracking the metric since the 60s. Now that states have started to reopen, consumer spending is on the rise once again.
At Community Point Bank, we don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to help you save more. Different techniques work for different people, so we’ve included a mix of old-school and modern-day options for your consideration.
1. Get back to the basics by building a budget.
Budgeting probably isn’t on the list of your favorite pastimes; in fact, you may downright despise it. File it in the same folder as writing a will or submitting an insurance claim—necessary but not necessarily enjoyable. But building a realistic budget and sticking to it is a great way to zero in on saving money and spend less.
If you’re not intimidated by spreadsheets or not terribly budget savvy, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are ample budget templates out there to help you get started. They range from digital to printable, simple to more sophisticated. Choose one that’s visually appealing and user-friendly. Then start filling in those blanks so you can find more ways to save money.
2. Open a savings account that accrues interest and make monthly deposits.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the money-saving tips, tricks and tools vying for your attention, but sometimes the simplest answer is right in front of you. How about opening a savings account at a bank that pays you interest?
At Community Point Bank, we offer several different savings accounts. You can open one with as little as $5 and earn interest at a competitive rate as you save. Annual percentage yield rates vary, but that’s extra money in your pocket any way you slice it.
So how much should you be saving each month? As much as you possibly can, but most experts recommend at least 20% of your income.
3. Find a financial mentor and follow their lead.
Mentor. Advisor. Planner. They go by many names, but they all understand the importance of saving money for emergencies, big-ticket purchases and retirement. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who’s a bona fide saver, then use that person as a resource. Ask them lots of questions and keep the dialogue open.
If saving doesn’t run in your family, then consult your bank or ask a trusted friend to refer a financial advisor who’s helped them. Try to find someone who’s willing to impart their knowledge for free, but be open to paying for the mentorship if the price is reasonable.
If one-on-one learning suits you and you’re ready to start saving more, then check out these pointers for connecting with a money mentor.
4. Take a free class that’ll teach you about saving money.
If you lead a busy life and don’t have time for regular sit-downs with a mentor, then you might consider taking an online class. There are lots to choose from, and many are free. Don’t get swindled into paying big bucks. Remember, you’re trying to save more, not spend more.
Online courses in this arena really run the gamut, so do your research and find one that teaches not only the fundamentals, but also trends and techniques to help you save. Here’s a list of highly rated courses that won’t require too much of a time commitment (although a few span multiple weeks).
5. Join an online support group for penny pinchers or coupon clippers.
Sometimes a group environment makes all the difference when pursuing goals. And, as it turns out, people bent on saving money have created all sorts of online support groups to share their experiences and motivate each other.
Not surprisingly, there are oodles of Facebook groups fighting the good fight. Some of the best send out price drop alerts, share couponing tips and offer hints for saving money. If you’re working to pay down credit card debt so you can start saving more, you may also want to check out the Financial Common Cents Facebook group. The group is moderated by Shanté Nicole Harris, a certified credit consultant who dug her way out of debilitating debt.
6. Try downloading an app to help you practice good habits and track progress.
The days of personal ledgers and balancing checkbooks are largely bygone. Today, people use all kinds of apps to help make their lives easier. They allow us to order food, transfer funds and control our thermostat from our phones. They can also help you stick to a budget and save more of what you earn.
Some of the more elaborate personal finance apps come with a price tag, but many—like Mint and Personal Capital—are free. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular ones and their myriad features. Download your favorite or try a few and compare.
With so many smart ways to save money, you’ll be seeing the results before you know it. At Community Point Bank, customers can use our banking app to keep a watchful eye on finances. And if you want to do a little number-crunching in the meantime, check out our savings calculator. Best of luck!