‘Tis the season of inflation, and, if there was ever a time to start budgeting and working on some money-saving tips, it’s absolutely the present time. Fortunately, there are many ways to pocket some extra cash for the long haul. You would be surprised at what some daily changes or regular habits can do for your peace of mind while putting some extra pennies in the bank. Let’s take a peek at 14 money-saving hacks that actually work.
14 Money-Saving Hacks that Actually Work
#14: Don’t Buy; Just Makeover
Get off Amazon. Don’t go to Target. And certainly, don’t be ordering anything from those expensive catalogs. Instead, dive into some DIY tasks. If you need a new loveseat or table, makeover what you have into what you want. From painting to distressing, even novice crafters can get online and make these projects come to life.
Need inspiration? Check out three of our favorite furniture makeovers:
Set up your checking account to auto-save your money. There are so many different ways to make this happen, even in its simplest form: taking a percentage of your paycheck out every time it hits your account and placing it directly in your savings before you have a chance to spend it.
#12: Create Non-Spending Days
Plan non-spending days throughout your months. Put it on the calendar if you have to! You will be shocked at how much you can save by integrating this strategy into your weekly routine.
These days should be prepared for with planned meals and established boundaries for making sure the day runs smoothly. You may even want to go a step further and plan an entire No-Buy Year with the help from this Forbes’ guide.
#11: Stick to the List
Don’t go to the grocery store without a list (and don’t go hungry either). Without a list, it’s easy to throw excess into the cart, spend more, and then leave without the items you actually needed.
Once you plan your meals and needs for the week, use a calculator to make sure you’re within budget, and stick to the list once you get to shopping. You’ll save yourself time as well as money.
#10: Check the Subscriptions
A lot of us spend money monthly on subscriptions we’re not even using. It’s time to check in and ensure that everything you’re paying for is a necessity or something that you are using. You can even download apps to help you keep up with—or cancel—old subscriptions. Trim is our favorite!
#9: LED Bulbs
Some simple switches (little light bulb humor there) at home can help you save money on bills as well. Even though LED bulbs can be a little pricey to purchase, they will save you money on your energy bills over time.
In fact, LED bulbs use 90% more energy than regular bulbs, and they last far longer as well. Inevitably, you’ll save every month and won’t have to repurchase as often.
#8: Purge Every 6 Months
This is good practice for decluttering and living a simpler lifestyle. But you can also sell gently used items for extra cash or donate them to charity (and snag a tax write-off). This practice helps you make a positive change in your day-to-day and discourages you from opting into excess purchases.
#7: Begin Investing
Don’t wait to start investing. It helps you save for your future and build stability you can rely on. If your employer offers a 401(k) benefit, take the opportunity. A lot of employers will even commit to matching up to a certain amount monthly when you decide to contribute to a 401(k) fund.
There are also investment apps and even financial advisors you can contact that will help you with the process—whether you want to start small or grow your investments more aggressively over time.
#6: Don’t Skip Clearance
No one is too good for the clearance aisles, end caps, or yellow stickers! In fact, you can save a ton by scanning these areas and grabbing essentials you need (or may need soon). And sometimes, if you check online, there are even more ways to save this way. Clearance sections are often at least double the size when you scour a brand’s online stores.
#5: Watch Your Accounts
There are a few reasons you need to check in on your accounts and keep watch over them. Firstly, you want to make sure your savings accounts are growing at a decent rate. If they’re not, get advice from a financial adviser on what you can do to grow them faster.
Also, you want to make sure no one is using your accounts unbeknownst to you. You would be surprised how many people have had their credit cards compromised and never realized someone else was spending their money until it was much too late.
#4: Never Lend; Only Gift
Stop lending out money. Many people get hurt and used for lending larger sums of money than they would give, because they’re expecting the person they’re helping to return the loan. Instead, you lose money and bridges can be burned.
Before writing a check or handing over cash, make sure you think of the exchange as a gift that might not be returned. You’ll hurt less and offer less cash if you do.
#3: Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Just like LED bulbs, investing in a smart thermostat will save you a lot in the long run. Again, this decision helps you save energy on a daily basis without having to think or actively work at it. And with less energy used, you get smaller bills every month. That could lead to a few hundred dollars in savings per year.
#2: Buy a Brita
Having a Brita filter and not purchasing bottled water regularly can save someone nearly $500 per year! You can purchase larger or smaller pitchers and just reorder them as necessary. Snag yourself a Brita pitcher here.
#1: Use Coupons
As simple as it sounds, coupons still exist—and they can still save you money. Clip some from the Sunday newspaper and use apps like Target’s Cartwheel to save extra on things you need. Check your mailbox for local fast food coupons as well; so many freebies for your family can be found there!