Mark and I are currently getting our money together to get a place in Dallas. While it’s a little stressful at times, we’ve managed to cut out going out to eat and other frivolous things completely. My $10-20 tab at the bar has turned into around $2 (just tipping for a water refill here and there) and I’ve managed to stay away from the every day emails, urging me to take advantage of great sales (I’m looking at you, Madewell.) It’s been a long time coming and I’m not going to lie, it was difficult at first. After going down a tough road, I realized that there are many other ways to save money, too. So if you’re looking for other (easier) ways to save, check out these tips.
1. Enroll In Payroll Autosave
By far, this is the best way to save. Most payroll departments allow you to direct deposit your paychecks into a specified bank account. Usually, when this is an option, you can also have them direct deposit into multiple accounts. Have your payroll department put a portion of your paycheck (either a percentage you want to save, or a set dollar amount) into a separate savings account, and the rest into your checking account. If you don’t see the money in your checking account, chances are you won’t remember you have it in savings and it will add up over time! Or if your job doesn’t offer direct deposit, you can always just force yourself to set back whatever you can into another account or elsewhere. For a while, I would actually give Mark money out of my paycheck and make him hide it from me. Sounds crazy, but hey, it worked. I didn’t want to ask him where the money was (especially if I was going to spend it on nail polish or something I didn’t actually need), so I ended up saving a lot.
2. Start An Electronic Change Jar
Forget that piggy bank: Programs such as Bank of America’s Keep the Change and Wells Fargo’s Save As You Go transfer a small amount from your checking to your savings account with every debit card purchase. (Bank of America rounds up to the nearest dollar, and Wells Fargo transfers exactly $1). Since it’s no more than $1 for every transaction, you won’t really feel the impact each time, but over time this can really add up. Even if you don’t use Bank of America or Wells Fargo, it’s worth asking your bank what similar programs they may offer.
3. Negotiate Your Credit Card Interest Rate
It can never hurt to ask, right? A lower interest rate on your outstanding credit card debt can help you save money every month — and, with any luck, eliminate your debt more quickly. Call your credit card company, starting with the one where you have the highest balance, or highest interest rate. Explain that you’re unhappy with your current interest rate, and would like a lower rate to help you get out of debt sooner. This conversation goes much further if you have better offers from other credit card companies, or if you are willing to close your account and move your balance to another card. Do your research and don’t be afraid to name drop other credit card companies that are offering a lower rate.
4. Get A Higher-Interest Savings Account
Honestly, if you have a savings account to begin with, you’re already doing much better than some of us. Go to bankrate.com to get a list of savings and checking account interest rates from banks that service your area. Many times, it is very easy to find a bank that offers a higher interest rate than what you are currently getting. You can usually be up and running with a new account in 10 minutes, and begin earning more money from your money within a couple of days. Just be sure to either close your current accounts, or leave enough in there to meet minimum balance requirements to avoid any fees.
5. Are you a book worm? Go to the library!
iPads, Kindles, and Nooks make it very easy to read new books and magazines. And, sure, you can buy this new content with just a click, but why not see if the digital versions are available from your library for free? Most urban library systems have e-books available for checkout online — no need to even stop in to the library. Browser plug-ins like BookBurrito and Library Extension make this even easier by automatically checking availability at your preferred library. I tend to prefer actual books over screens, so I simply reserve my books online and stop by the library to pick them up! You’d be surprised with what you can find on your local library’s card catalog. I was able to find Mad Men, tons of DIY craft books and even makeup tutorial guides! [via Refinery 29]
Check out Refinery 29 for even more great tips on saving money (without even realizing it)!
How do you save money, Lovelies? Did you have to change how you were saving?