Today’s guest post is by Greg Johnson from the popular and award-winning blog Club Thrifty. He and his wife Holly paid off $50,000 in car loans, student loans, and consumer debt to craft a life of freedom for their family. Debt Free Happens is excited to share what they have learned to help you start saving money!
All of us could stand to save more money, right? Every one of us has goals to reach. We all have reasons we want (and need) to put more money away for the future.
Whether you’re dreaming of retirement or saving for a smaller goal, it’s important to start saving now. Kids’ college, paying off debts, buying a house, taking a dream trip…they all require significant saving!
Here are some of my favorite tricks to help you save more money than ever!
Track Your Expenses
It’s pretty tough to save money if you don’t even realize how much you’re currently spending. Unfortunately, most of us grossly underestimate our spending each month.
If you want to save more money, one of the first steps you should take is to keep a detailed list of every penny you spend for at least a month. Don’t just include the “big stuff” like your rent, mortgage, insurance, and car payments. Be sure to mark every latte, every random extra trip to the supermarket, every last bit of cash that leaves your hands.
By ruthlessly tracking every penny you spend, you’ll start to understand where all of your money is going. That helps you pinpoint areas where you can trim the excess.
You’ll probably be surprised at how much you actually spend in a month. That eye-opening experiment will kickstart your journey to bigger savings!
Slash Your Spending
Once you’ve started tracking your spending, you’ll know exactly what is happening to your hard-earned cash. Use that information to look for areas where you can slash your spending.
Spending hundreds on takeout food each month? Try cutting back a little and eating at home for less. Paying for subscriptions or services you don’t even use? Drop them and pocket the money for your savings goals!
Whether you spot half a dozen areas where you’re overspending or just a couple, kick those habits now! Every little bit helps! Chances are, you won’t really miss those splurges anyway – especially when you realize how much extra you can save every month.
Open a High Yield Savings Account
Here’s a quick tip to start saving more money right away: Stash it in an account that’ll actually make you more money! Online accounts at places like CIT Bank, Synchrony Bank, and others are great for this – especially if you’re socking money away for emergencies, travel, or other small savings goals. It’s easy to set up your account online, too.
With interest rates far above those found at most brick and mortar banks, every dollar you save will earn even more! And, who doesn’t want their money to grow instead of just sitting there, right? That should be all the motivation you need to start saving as much as possible!
Automate Your Savings
If there’s one thing we all know about habits, it’s that they’re really hard to break. So, get into the savings habit by making it automatic.
It’s incredibly easy these days to save via direct deposit. Arrange to have a specific amount automatically saved from each paycheck into your savings. That way, you’ll never see the money, so you won’t miss it!
Setting up an automatic savings plan takes the choice out of your hands. It’s a great strategy because we all suffer moments of weakness. By automating your savings, you get that money saved before you can spend it.
Debt Free Happens Note: You can find our tips here for automating your debt payoff and savings if you would like to learn more.
Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time
Don’t have a lot of free time or flexibility to take an extra job? Consider checking out some of the best survey sites to earn some extra cash from your couch!
Look, don’t get me wrong, you’ll never get rich by taking surveys. Still, there are tons of survey sites who are willing to pay you for your opinions. You can earn gift cards, cash, and other rewards that will help you save more money.
The great thing about these sites is the work is hardly like work at all. You complete simple tasks like answering surveys, watching videos, and testing products. Plus, you can complete surveys from anywhere, anytime – even while you’re relaxing at night.
Set Focused Savings Goals
When you’re trying to save more money, it’s important to focus on more than just the “how” of saving. You also need to think about your “why” for saving money!
Having specific goals will help motivate you to save money when everyone else is spending. Picturing the reason for your savings is key to staying focused and disciplined.
If you’re saving for a down payment on a house, visualize the kind of house you want. If you’re saving for your children’s college tuition, imagine them graduating debt-free as they start careers. If your goal is a dream vacation, put up vivid photos of your dream destination.
Whatever your goals are (and you likely have more than one), remembering those goals will spark your motivation to stick to your saving plans! There’s nothing like the image of relaxing on a white sand beach to stop you from buying random junk you don’t need.
Saving is Worth It
The choices you make today affect your happiness tomorrow. You don’t have to sacrifice everything to reach your savings goals, but you do have to plan and prioritize.
Change your future by starting today. Trying a few of these tricks might help you get focused quickly so you can start saving some serious money!
Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. He is the co-owner of the popular blog Club Thrifty, where he teaches others how to spend less and travel more.