15 Ways to Save Money in 2015
On Monday, I compared a year in our lives to a 400-meter race in track, where you have to run hard for a relatively short distance. It’s a difficult race to run, but it’s a lot easier when you are prepared for it and focused on what you have to accomplish. Every Wednesday in January, I am going to share goals or topics that will help you in 2015.
Today, I want to share 15 ways to save money in 2015. My clients tell me ALL the time that they can’t save and it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they haven’t employed a savings strategy. If you utilize any of these 15 strategies, you will easily save money. I know because many of my clients use them and get solid results.
1) 52 Week Challenge
I have to confess that I have never done this myself, but I like the idea of consistently saving something and letting your money build over time. Plus, there are lots of places you can find spreadsheets like this one to help you track your progress. When all is said and done, you will have saved over $1,300!
2) Auto-draft Your Savings
Everyone always talks about the 401k as being the best savings vehicle, but the greatest thing it does for people is automate their savings. You can do the same thing with your bank account. An auto-draft is free to set up and most banks offer free savings accounts, so set up an auto-draft of $10, $20, $100 a month. Your savings account will grow and you won’t have to think about it.
3) Use the Buddy System
Saving money is tough, but doing it with a friend makes it more fun. Pick a friend and create a savings challenge. Whoever has the most in their savings account at the end of the year gets dinner on the losing friend.
4) Cook at Home
After our place of residence, our next biggest expense is food. The more you cook at home, the more you will save in 2015. If you are not a big cook, no worries, that’s why there’s Pinterest. I find so many great recipes on Pinterest and you know you can handle making them because they are mostly written by everyday cooks like you and not professional chefs with complicated ingredients and instructions.
5) Cut Your Cable
Last year we switched from a cable home to a Roku/Streaming home, and my hubby even wrote a post on exactly how we did it. Thanks to this switch, we are saving a little over $60 a month.
6) Cash Only Days
Challenge yourself to a few cash only days a week where you only have $10-20 in cash on your person for the entire day so that is all that you can spend. I do this all the time and encourage my clients to as well.
7) Round Up Your Spending
Bank of America offers the “Keep the Change” option for all debit card clients where they round up your spending and use the difference to fund a savings account, so if you spend $3.50, they will charge your checking account $4.00 and put $.50 in a savings account for you. You can do this yourself easily by reviewing your purchases at the end of the week, rounding them up and moving that difference from your checking to your savings.
8) Question Your Bills
Take the time this month to review all of your regular bills like insurance, cell phones, auto, etc., then call each provider and ask for ways to help you save on those expenses. I did this over the course of the year last year and saved $30 a month on my home insurance and $20 a month on my cell phone bill.
9) No Spend Days
This is similar to the cash only days, except in this instance, you would challenge yourself to spend no money a few days each week. The only catch with this is that you can’t overspend the next day. It’s the equivalent of running 5 miles and then eating an entire cheesecake.
10) Rethink Entertainment
In addition to cutting cable last year, we found other ways to entertain ourselves. Rather than go to the movies, we watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime. We have also taken up working on puzzles, so for $10 we get hours of entertainment, albeit sometimes frustrating entertainment when we can’t find a missing puzzle piece.
11) Create Goal Accounts
There are a number of banks that offer you the option for multiple savings accounts, in fact Melanie recently talked about how great Capital One’s system is. I have found that my clients do better with their savings when they actually know what they are saving for. So, set up a savings account for “Travel” or “Gifts” or “Going Out.” When you have extra money at the end of a week or month, move money to these accounts and then you know that you can use it for those purposes at a later date.
12) Don’t Neglect Loose Change
This is something that I am guilty of. I hate walking around with change, but we have set up a system where we easily collect this change and after the baggy reaches a certain level, we cash in the change, which is typically around $50. Who doesn’t want an extra $50 every few months?
13) Envelope Method
Sometimes the best way to save is to control your spending. You should determine how much money you have to spend in a week and use envelopes for each day. The money that is not spent each day, moves to the next until the remaining money at the end of the week gets collected into the savings envelope. It’s motivating to watch the savings envelope grow.
14) Cut the Gym Bill
On average, people spend about $60 a month on a gym membership. If you use this 5-6 days a week, then this is a great investment. If you are like me and not always committed to the gym, then cut the expense and find alternatives. I have an entire page on Pinterest dedicated to cheap workouts you can do at home and I do many of them. I am currently working on a 30 day challenge involving squats, sit ups, push ups and plank. When the weather is not damp, I walk, even in the cold. Cutting the gym is even easier if you have a buddy to do it with you, for me it’s hubby and we motivate each other to stay in shape.
15) Save Your Savings
I am stealing this from my buddy J. Money, but once you employ one or five or ten of these savings methods, take the money you are saving and actually save it rather than spend it on something else. We are saving our savings on cable, phone and insurance and now have over $600 in that savings account.
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