Money-Saving Tips for Everyone

A few easy tips to help you free up some extra cash and save more money.

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By Ben Harper

2020 has been a year of turmoil for almost everyone. Even if you kept your job, the economy itself changed drastically, forcing just about everyone to make changes and save money.

When you save, you protect your future self. No one predicted 2020 would look like this, so who knows what the future holds. If you’re ready to prepare yourself for whatever comes your way financially, learn the top personal finance tips below.

Change Unnecessary Expenses

You have your fixed expenses – rent, utilities, transportation, and food (groceries). But most people also have plenty of ‘other’ expenses they could cut.

Focus on the priorities. You need shelter, transportation, heat, and food. You don’t need trips to Starbucks, shopping sprees, and unnecessary memberships. Cut back where you can. Don’t look at it as sacrificing – think of it as saving for the future.

Learn to Save on Groceries

Food is a necessity, but grocery bills can get out of hand. According to the Consumer Price Index, groceries jumped 5.6 percent this year alone. If you’re trying to save money, you’ll need a few tricks up your sleeve to not break the bank at the grocery store:

  • Meal plan based on the week’s sales
  • Use coupons or the store’s loyalty system
  • Make meals from what you have at home before shopping
  • Buy staples in bulk when they are on sale

Find Lower Prescriptions

If you take prescriptions regularly, find cheaper ways to get them:

  • Ask for a generic alternative
  • Use your insurance company’s mail-order system
  • Get your prescriptions at Costco (you don’t need to be a member)
  • Look for manufacturer coupons or prescription cards online (many offer prescriptions for as low as $10)

Re-Evaluate your Monthly Bills

Pull your bank and credit card statements for the last few months and read them over carefully. See where you have recurring costs and where you may be able to cut back. A few common examples include:

  • Cut the cable cord and replace it with a much cheaper streaming service
  • Shop for cheaper insurance rates
  • Ask for a budget plan from your utility company
  • Ask your credit card company for a lower APR or apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card

Create a Budget

If you operate without a budget, you’re likely wasting money without realizing it. Create a simple budget (use apps like Mint or EveryDollar) or a spreadsheet you created.

Budget your fixed expenses, leave room for variable expenses, and make sure you save at least 10 – 20 percent of your income for savings and debt payoff.

During these unprecedented times, focus on saving rather than paying off debt. Make your minimum payments, but make sure you save any ‘extra’ money until you have a well-funded emergency fund.

The key is to prepare yourself for the future. If you don’t need the extra funds – great, consider yourself lucky. But if you fall on hard times, you’ll be glad the funds are there when you need them. Now is the best time to save money, even during these hard times.

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Ben Harper

Ben is a personal finance writer with SimpleDirect, where he focuses on topics such as personal loans, credit cards, and offering financing.

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