Saving money—it’s something your grandparents talked about proudly as a form of responsible suffering. And while you know they were right for thinking ahead, saving is easier said than done. How do you plan ahead for unexpected expenses when all those expected expenses keep getting in the way?
Life happens, but there are ways you can save for it without piling on more stress. Here are a few ways you can set aside money and barely notice!
By setting up your credit union to automatically transfer funds from your checking into your savings account, or setting up your direct deposit to transfer a percentage of your paycheck into your savings account, you will essentially be “forcing” yourself to save regularly without having to think about it. While you may notice the difference in your checking account at first, you will quickly adjust your spending because you will have no choice!
When you think about it, does every household on your street really need its own power washer, circular saw, or cookie press? Borrowing from a neighbor rather than running to the store or clicking “Buy it Now” will not only save you money but reduce waste. It may seem awkward to make the first ask, but you would be breaking the ice for people who have been secretly thinking the same thing all along. In fact, you may even want to help plan a neighborhood “lending library” of household items.
And, of course, go to the actual library when you want a book!
Preparing food at home saves a lot of money. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends over $3,000 on food outside of the home each year. By packing lunches and greatly reducing the number of times you go out to eat, you will add a significant amount to your savings. Plan ahead, prepare your favorite foods, and reserve restaurant meals for special occasions. You will find that if you take the time to make delicious food at home, you will become accustomed to it, if not prefer it.
Electricity is one of those invisible expenditures that we don’t think about until the bill arrives each month. How about making small tweaks to your home and household habits to save money? Shorter showers (try an hourglass shower timer), LED bulbs, and dimmer switches are just a few of the ways you can save money without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
The “set it and forget it” idea we mentioned earlier? It works the opposite way, as well. When you set up house, car, cell phone, and student loan payments, the bills quickly become a part of your monthly budget, often set up with automatic payments. But when is the last time you’ve looked at the breakdown of your phone bill? Would refinancing your car or home loan save you money? How many subscriptions that you’ve forgotten about are charging your credit card bill each month? At least once a year, take some time to reassess all of your bills and see where you can make changes. You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year.
Inspired to save? At Millstream Area Credit Union, we’re here to help you make the most of your money now and in the future!