Ways to Save in 2019
by Margaret Campbell
Let’s face it, every year we all make the determination to save more and spend less. We mean well. The first few weeks of the year we take our own lunch to work or school, we clip coupons and read sale papers, we promise ourselves to put back a weekly or monthly sum that will leave us well on our way to that emergency fund, college fund or retirement by year’s end.
Then we get sidetracked. We think about what we could spend that extra money on just sitting in that checking or savings account or we let our colleagues talk us into that fun lunch out every day. If you have tried and are bad at saving, here are a few tips that will help save extra money in almost every part of your life.
Start with a budget. Make a serious list of all your expenses. If you need to, most banks have credit counselors you can consult for ways to consolidate bills and other money tricks. If you’re not sure how much you’re spending adds up to, then track it — write down everything you spend during the week. You might be surprised.
Next, separate your money. Put the money you spend in a checking account and with the rest, open a savings account. Money in a checking account is easily spent; the savings account funds will be harder to spend. Make an automatic deposit from your checking to savings weekly. Even if it’s just $10, chances are you won’t miss it and it will add up.
Set a savings goal. Setting goals can be fun and even competitive. Challenge your friends or work colleagues to see how much you can save. If you save just $38.83 each week in 2019 you will save $2,019 by year’s end.
Saving on your monthly bills will help to put extra money in your account. Shop around for better rates on things like cell phones and internet service, homeowner and auto insurance. We all see those commercials that claim to cut your bills up to 20 percent. Look for the best rates and, if you like the company you’re with, give them a call and let them know you can find savings with another company and ask what they can offer you in the way of discounts.
Get rid of bank account and credit card fees. They all have no-fee accounts, just ask for the one that’s right for you. Credit unions have no-fee banking.
Instead of getting into your car for a trip around the corner, consider walking or riding a bicycle. You’ll be healthier, save money on fuel and help the environment.
Changing from incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED bulbs can save you $75 a year alone on your electric bill. And with the longer life they provide, you’ll change them less frequently.
Learn to do some of your own household repairs. Unclogging a drain, replacing broken toilet levers or even repairing a leaky pipe is easy with the advice of your local hardware store expert. And we all know there is a YouTube video out there for everything. You’d be surprised how much minor repairs can cost.
Using your dryer less and a clothes line or even a clothes rack inside more will help with savings. If it’s the winter, place your clothes rack over a heating vent. You have to heat the house anyway, why not do double duty?
Don’t leave things plugged in that don’t need to be, like chargers and power strips or appliances that light up if on or off. It’s using electricity that you don’t need to be using.
Americans throw away tons of food every year and those are dollars you’re throwing away. Make menus and a grocery list from there. Eating before you grocery shop really does work. Don’t buy what you won’t use —it’s that simple. The savings will amaze you. So will the savings you accumulate from not using the drive thru or convenience foods. It only takes a few minutes more and a little planning to cook at home. It will taste better and cost less. Set aside one day a week to eat lunch or dinner out. Make it a treat rather than a habit.
Get creative with your leftovers. Make them do double duty — cook with two meals out of one in mind. Brown bag your lunch from leftovers — eating lunch out every day can cost anywhere from $25-50 a week!
Make your coffee and tea at home. You can make what will cost you $3-$5 a day from the coffee shop or drive thru for pennies at home.
Ditch those expensive and unhealthy soft drinks. If you’re addicted, limit yourself to only one soda a day.
Remember, pennies add up to dollars for a family vacation, a new car, a down payment on a home or just the security of knowing you have a little put aside for an emergency.