How to Save Money in 2019

January 4, 2019 | Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Photo of a Mission Fed member saving money online.

Anyone can save money here and there, but if you can make some small changes and commit to saving regularly, you’ll be able to save for emergency expenditures, new purchases, future goals and fun money, as well as contributing to college and retirement accounts. So what can you do to save money? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think.

The first and most important thing to do is make a budget. Begin by carefully going over your finances for the last six months. Look at how you’re spending your money and where you could save. You’ll probably be surprised to find that money you could be saving is being spent on your coffee habit or high energy bill. Identify areas of spending where you might be able to save or cut out entirely. If you have a partner with whom you share finances, go over your finances together. Look at your income, your bills, your spending and debt, and make a budget so you can find ways to save.

To begin planning your budget, look at your income. A monthly budget makes the most sense, so write down your monthly income (and, if you don’t get paid each month, do a yearly grand total and divide by 12). This will tell you how much money you have to work with each month and anything you have left at the end of each month can be tucked away into savings.

Then, begin recording your bills and other reliable expenditures. Planning ahead for each bill, as well as consistent spending on regular items like gas, groceries, appointments and car maintenance, helps you earmark funds properly so you can save more.

Once you have a record of each place your money regularly goes, look for ways it could be spent more wisely. How can you keep saving money once you have a working budget established? It’s not as hard as you think. Consistency, a careful eye and planning ahead can save you a remarkable amount. Plus, once you see how you could be spending and saving your money, you’ll start seeking even more ways to increase your monthly leftover cash.

Here are some great ways to save money you might not have thought of:

Open a savings account for a specific purpose

Plan to deposit a certain amount each month and stick to it. If you’re able to do more, fantastic! But planning on a specific number helps you think of that money as “taken.” And, if you have direct deposit, you can easily allocate a recurring deposit directly to your saving accounts.

Pay credit cards right away

Pay your credit card bill promptly so you don’t accrue unnecessary interest, and don’t get in the habit of using your credit cards unless you have a consistent practice of paying them off within each cycle. It’s a good idea to treat your credit card as an emergency line of credit for unexpected or unbudgeted expenses until you can grow your savings accounts. If you can’t pay off your card balance each month, be sure to pay more than the minimum amount due.

Change providers

Providers for your cell phone, TV and Internet services are constantly changing their service plans. Switching providers often comes with savings on your bill as well as extra incentives. Check the providers in your area to see if you qualify for any of their offers before canceling your current services.

Become a conservationist!

Conserve energy usage by turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use. Minimize the amount of water you use by turning off faucets when washing hands or brushing teeth and taking shorter showers. Make sure you only do laundry and run the dishwasher when the loads are full. Check sprinklers or outdoor water faucets for leaks. It’s also a great idea to reuse and wash items instead of purchasing disposable products.

Checkups and maintenance

Whether it’s checkups for your car, your roof or your teeth, keeping regular appointments that provide preventative care or maintenance can help avoid costly problems down the road, which could save you money long-term.

Practice your home cooking!

Eating out is expensive, and even a weekly coffee run can add up to a lot of money over time, especially if you’re getting a treat for the kids and your puppy. Making your own food is usually better for you, too, which may help ensure fewer doctor bills down the road and potentially reduce the need for clothes in the next size up.

Most of these money savers come at no cost to you, which means you’re basically getting free money. Look for rewards programs through your credit card, grocery store, department stores, gas stations, restaurants and anywhere else you frequently visit. Find coupons by exploring websites and doing a quick internet search before heading out or scheduling your next oil change.

Donate unwanted or unused items

De-clutter your home and donate what you no longer need. The items you donate can be used by others to furnish their house or their wardrobe, helping to reduce waste and help them save, too. You can often claim a tax deduction for donations of household goods and clothing. Talk to a tax professional for more information.

If you’re aware of where you’re spending money and looking for ways to save each day, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your savings build up and how easy it is to make saving a priority!

Make sure you’re putting your saved money into an account that continues to grow your savings. You can choose a traditional savings account, a money market account, an IRA or a 401(k), and you’ll be able to take heart knowing the money you worked hard to save will benefit you now and down the road. Whether you’re saving on your own or saving as a couple, using these money-saving tips can really add up.

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.

Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Millie Garland-D'Aprile

Millie Garland-D’Aprile is VP Operations at Mission Federal Credit Union. She has enjoyed several decades of customer service and operations experience in the financial industry, including 22 years at a local community bank and 18 years with Credit Unions. Millie’s primary responsibilities at Mission Fed include branch support, quality assurance, asset protection and fraud, and she is always delighted to share her experience and insights with colleagues throughout the Credit Union. Millie and her team have been working to help protect members by increasing fraud awareness.

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