Now that unemployment is reaching record numbers due to the unforeseen circumstances arising from COVID-19, it’s never been more important to save money. Nobody knows what the long term economic effects will be and that’s why you want to have as much cash saved as possible.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Especially if you’re someone who’s used to spending without much worry.
But luckily, we’re here to help. So continue reading and we’ll walk you through how to be good with money with these top money-saving tips!
1. Choose Your Optimal Bank
Perhaps you’re using the same bank account that you’ve had since college. Maybe you’re a customer of the one that your parents use or you’re just using the bank that has the most branches in your area. No matter your reason, it’s worth taking a cold, hard look at what your current bank is providing you.
Chances are, there are other banks out there that can offer you more. For example, there are some online banks, that will waive all of your ATM fees. If you live somewhere that requires having a lot of cash on hand, then this could save you tens or even hundreds of dollars each year.
Using an online bank is easy as you everything you need right in your cell phone.
You also want to look at interest rates. The biggest banks tend to offer the lowest interest rates for savings accounts. If you’re someone who intends to keep their money in a savings account untouched for several years, then you should look into banks that offer the highest interest rates.
Also, some banks will give you money if you open a checking account with a certain amount of cash in it. But make sure those accounts can accept direct deposit.
But most importantly, make sure that you’re not paying any fees to your bank. If you need to keep a minimum amount in your account or have to spend a certain amount of money each month, then you should probably look for another bank too.
2. Make a Budget
When it comes to handling your finances, you’ll want to have a solid budget in place to help with your savings plan.
Go over all of the money you currently have available. Then calculate how much you have going in and how much you have going out each month.
Now, make adjustments to your expenses so that you spend money only on the things you need to buy. Consult this budget once a week to make sure you’re staying on track.
There are also great budget apps that can make it even easier for you to reach your savings goal.
3. Stop Buying and Start Selling
Now more than ever, you should only be thinking about purchasing essentials. It’s also a great time to take stock of everything in your home. Go through your garage, closets, attic, and basement.
Try to pull out all of the toys, gadgets, and gizmos you no longer use. Then, make three piles – donate, throw away, and sell.
It’s never been easier to sell your personal items and it’s certainly something worth doing. Sites like eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and Amazon are all great online marketplaces that make the process easy.
4. Sign Up for All of the Free Customer Rewards Programs
Whenever you go shopping, whether it’s in person or online, see if you can sign up for a free customer rewards program. The more you shop at these places, the more points you’ll earn. And this will eventually turn into discounts and free stuff.
These programs can often bombard your email account with newsletters and promos. So you should set up a separate email account specifically for these rewards programs so you don’t get overwhelmed. You also want to collect punch cards, club cards, and anything else you get offered.
5. Write a List Before You Go Shopping
One of the most simple ways to save money is to create a shopping list. Remember, grocery stores are designed to get you to buy as many things as possible. And they’re good at what they do.
To avoid spending money on unnecessary items, you should create a list first. This will help you stick to your budget and buy only the things you need.
You can take advantage of a cashback rewards card as well when you go to the grocery store. These cards will give you bonus money just for buying groceries. Just make sure you pay it off in time.
6. Repair Clothing Instead of Throwing It Away
Repairing your clothes will save you from having to buy new ones. There’s no need to throw away a nice pair of pants or a well-fitting shirt just because there’s a button or two missing.
Many times, a basic sewing job is all you need to get your clothes back into good shape. Plus, knowing how to sew is a valuable life skill and can help give you a sense of accomplishment.
Don’t know how to sew? Now’s the perfect time to learn!
7. Negotiate Rates with Your Credit Card Company or Execute a Balance Transfer
If you’re someone who pays a lot of interest on their credit cards, then you should know that you do have some bargaining power, so long as you’ve been making your payments on time. In fact, you not only have the right to negotiate with your credit card issuer about your current interest rate, but you can also transfer your entire balance to a different card.
You can begin the process by contacting your credit card issuer at the phone number on the back of your credit and tell them your request. If they’re not interested in helping you, then you can find a balance transfer credit card with 0% APR to use instead. This could help you save a lot of money in interest over time.
8. Use Amazon Prime
While Amazon Prime comes with upfront costs, it could certainly end up paying for itself. With Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping on a variety of high-quality products. And while people are being asked to stay inside as much as possible, it’s never been a better time to get free shipping on essentials.
Plus, Amazon Prime comes with a bunch of original and critically-acclaimed tv shows and movies. This will certainly help you from getting too bored while you’re stuck at home.
9. Drink More Water
First off, practically everyone could benefit from drinking more water. But not only does it come with many great health benefits, but it also comes with financial benefits as well.
For example, if you drink a glass of water before each meal, you’ll end up feeling fuller faster. This will help you eat less food and, thus, save you money on food costs.
Plus, drinking more water means that you’re spending less money on other beverages like juice, coffee, tea, and soda. Potable tap water is a healthy and free way to stay hydrated. Or you can get an affordable water filter if you want more purified H2O.
10. Stop Smoking
Now is the perfect time to work on yourself and finally try to kick that smoking habit. Not only is smoking horrible for your health, but it’s also incredibly expensive. Smoking a pack a day means that you could be spending hundreds of dollars every month on cigarettes.
And not only will you save money by not buying cigarettes, but you’ll also save on medical bills. Smoking-related illnesses are costing Americans a combined $300 billion every year in medical bills as well as lost productivity.
You can choose a nicotine alternative or transition to tobacco-free e-cigarettes. Either way, your health, and your emergency fund will thank you.
11. Install LEDs or CFLs Wherever You Can
While energy-efficient light bulbs might cost you more upfront, they’ll last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and they’ll use less electricity as well. It might be tough for you to decide which kind to use, but either of these bulbs will likely be an upgrade from what you currently have installed.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) use a fraction of the energy that incandescent bulbs use. Plus, they’ll last you for years. They’re also one of the more affordable energy-efficient light bulbs available.
There are some downsides to CFLs, however. First, they take some time to warm up to full brightness. Also, they contain small amounts of mercury.
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are the best lighting option available. While they’re more expensive than CFLs, they’re getting cheaper all the time. These bulbs light up instantly, produce a warm glow without getting hot to touch, are as efficient as CFLs, and can last you for decades.
You don’t have to swap out every bulb in your house. Even just replacing a few light bulbs can save you a fair amount of money each year.
12. Purchase Quality Appliances That Will Last
When it comes to buying new appliances for your home, the adage “you get what you pay for,” tends to ring true. While a reliable, energy-efficient washing machine might cost you a good amount in upfront costs, it can save you big on your energy bill and can last for many years.
Before you make a big purchase, or any purchase really, you want to do your research. Don’t just settle for the item that’s going to be the fastest or cheapest to purchase. It’s not worth it if you’re going to have to repair or replace it in a short amount of time.
Do some research online and read from a variety of quality resources to see which model and product will be the best one for you. Just researching for even an hour can save you hundreds of dollars.
You also might want to consider hiring a professional to come and install the appliance for you. This can help make sure that everything is installed properly. And if anything goes wrong, the person who installed it may come back and check it out for free.
And if you know that you’re going to make a big purchase, you might want to go ahead and apply for a credit card that comes with a big signup bonus. Buying a washer and dryer for a few thousand dollars, for example, could help you hit your spending minimum quickly.
If you’re going to spend the money anyway, then you might as well get as much as you can out of the transaction.
13. Start a Garden
The average American household spends hundreds of dollars every month on groceries. Consider gardening as a way to significantly cut down on your food costs. It’s also a simple, fun, and inexpensive hobby to take up.
And even if you don’t have space for a full garden, you can grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in planter pots in your home. Gardening is not only going to save you money but it’s also more environmentally friendly and stops you from having to go out as much.
It’s a great way to have fresh and healthy food whenever you need it.
14. Buy Video Games That Have a Lot of Replay Value
The amount of time spent playing video games is sure to go up during these unsettling times. But you shouldn’t just buy a game, play it for a few days, and then move on to the next one. Instead, play open-ended one and one that you can master.
Puzzle games and role-playing games are both going to give you the most bang for your buck. And when you’re finally done with the game, see if you can sell it online before you buy another one.
15. Cancel Programs You Don’t Use
For example, since you’ll be spending these weeks at home, you should cancel or freeze any club or gym memberships you have. Check with your gym to see if they’re allowing people to freeze their accounts.
16. Pay Off Your Student Loans During Grace Period
If you have any extra money left over from your student loans, try to pay off what you can while you’re still in school, you can cut down on how much interest you’ll owe over time. Try to at least make interest payments during this time. While you might not worry about paying off your loans in the short-term, any little bit you pay back now will help you in the future.
The Importance of Knowing How to Be Good with Money
During these uncertain times, nobody knows what’s coming next economically. And if we end up in a recession, or a depression, you’re going to want to be saving money as much as possible. By being aware of the purchases you make, and buying items with the long term in mind, however, you can end up buying what you need without having to constantly pay for repairs or replacements.
Are you interested in reading other helpful money-saving articles? Check out more of our posts today!