Pop quiz. (Don’t worry, there are no grades and no wrong answers.) Do you want to save more money to:
a) Accomplish your money goals fast?
b) Find some breathing room in your budget?
c) Stop relying on credit cards for emergencies?
d) Add more security in your life?
e) All of the above?
Well, I’ve got some good news! No matter your answer, you’re about to learn how to save money with 23 tips you can start working on today—like right now. You ready? Let’s do this!
How to Save Money: 23 Tips
- Make a budget.
- Say goodbye to debt.
- Set a savings goal.
- Save money automatically.
- Buy generic.
- Meal plan.
- Cancel some subscriptions and memberships.
- Adjust your tax withholdings.
- Check your insurances rates.
- Reduce energy costs.
- Pack your lunch.
- Stop eating out.
- Use your employer’s retirement match.
- Switch your cell phone plan.
- Try a no-spend month.
- DIY . . . everything!
- Skip the coffee shop.
- Get a library card.
- Stuff your cash envelopes.
- Stay out of “that store.”
- Use cash-back apps and coupons.
- Refinance your mortgage.
- Learn the power of “no” (or “not now”).
1. Make a budget.
A budget is just a plan for your money. Think of it as a map to get you to your money goals. And you need a budget.
Because here’s the thing—if you do every single tip in this how to save money list, but you don’t have a budget . . . you’re playing yourself. You’ll end up accidentally spending everything you intentionally saved. Simply because you didn’t have a plan!
We’ve all been there, so let’s level up.
I need you to make a budget today to see where you are with your money—and then keep making one every single month to get where you want to be.
2. Say goodbye to debt.
I’m not the only one who says ditching your debt is a top tip for saving money. But even if I was, I’d still shout it from the rooftops, because I’ve lived this.
My husband and I paid off $460,000 in debt. (You read that right.) And getting that weight off our backs and out of our lives meant first deciding to stop borrowing money. Because borrowed money, aka debt, straight up steals your income.
I mean look at how much money debt is taking from the average America each month:
- Average Student Loan Payment: $3931
- Average Credit Card Payment (based on a 2% minimum payment): $121.762
- Average New Car Payment: $7263
- Total: $1,240.76 (and that’s just three kinds of debt!)
Imagine throwing $1,240.76 toward your savings goals instead of your past. Every month.
Now look at your debt. What would you get back in the budget if it was gone? Paying off debt takes time and effort—but keep your eye on how much you’ll save and the freedom you’ll feel when you finally get to pay yourself instead of paying debt.
3. Set a savings goal.
Sometimes the best way to save money is by setting a savings goal—a specific dollar amount with a set deadline. You can try the 100 Envelope Challenge and hit a $5,050 goal or use one of our savings trackers and fill in whatever amount you want.
Bonus tip: Be sure you know why this money is so important for you to save. Because remember—the stronger the why, the stronger the try.
4. Save money automatically.
Set up a direct deposit from each paycheck to your savings account. That way you don’t even think about the money you’re saving—you’re just saving.
Start budgeting with EveryDollar today!
And if you really want to get serious, use a separate bank from your existing checking account. I love using online banks for this! Out of sight, out of reach, less temptation to spend.
5. Buy generic.
Hey, I don’t mind if you’re a brand snob about a few things. I won’t sit up here and tell you that Walmart Twist & Shouts taste the same as Nabisco Oreos. But please know a ton of name brands are exactly the same as the generic—except the brand name paid more for marketing. And that means you’re paying more for a fancy logo.
Try out generic brands of the basics for sure: medicines, staple food items, cleaning supplies and paper products.
6. Meal plan.
The hardest budget line to keep in line? Food. The best way to save money on food? Meal plan. (Every breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack!)
And build this meal plan based on:
- What’s already in the fridge, freezer and pantry (don’t waste food!)
- Your schedule (need dinners you can make quick for busy nights?)
- What’s on sale (pick recipes with those sale ingredients!)
- What needs the least amount of ingredients (because less is more here—more savings, that is!)
Then make a grocery shopping list—and stick to it. For real. Say goodbye to wasted food and drive-thru temptations and hello to legit money savings.
Pro tip: Download my girl Rachel Cruze’s free meal planner and grocery guide for more tips, tricks and even printables to help you here.
7. Cancel some subscriptions and memberships.
If you want to save money each month, pick one TV streaming service. Just one. Then do a quick subscription audit and see what else you can cut. If that subscription or membership isn’t changing your life and you’d rather have that money in your bank account, cancel it! Remember, most of these cuts are just temporary while you get that cash stacked.
8. Adjust your tax withholdings.
Listen, if you’re getting huge tax refunds each year, that means you’ve been loaning the government money every month without interest. I don’t think so—homie don’t play that. It’s time to adjust your tax withholding. Put that money back into your monthly budget.
9. Check your insurance rates.
Why is this a money saving tip? You could be overpaying or be underinsured. Both of those can cost you big. This is not an excuse to cut insurances, but it is an excuse to take our 5-Minute Coverage Checkup to make sure you’ve got the exact coverage you need.
10. Reduce energy costs.
If you’re looking for easy ways to save money on your electric bill, make a few tweaks to your home. Start with some simple things like taking shorter showers (notice I didn’t say fewer showers), fixing that toilet that runs continuously, washing your clothes in cold water, and turning the lights off when you leave a room. You’ll be shocked at how these small changes can really add up.
11. Pack your lunch.
Get this—the average household spends about $3,639 on food outside of the home each year.4 That’s $303 a month! And you know some of that is spent going out for lunch at work. Pack your midday meal instead—it’s a great way to save money and eat healthier.
Pro tip: Check out these cheap lunch ideas for inspiration.
12. Stop eating out.
Are y’all ready for me to level up that last challenge? What if you stopped eating out completely? I know, I’m trying your life right now. But look—it’s not for the rest of your life, just for a while. You could pack that $303 into your savings each month and hit your goals way quicker.
Also, if you’re in debt, this is the first luxury I need you to cut. And you won’t even have to skip out on your favorites. You know you can make more—and better—pizza at the house for way less anyway!
13. Use your employer’s retirement match.
14. Switch your cell phone plan.
When was the last time you shopped around for better cell phone deals? It’s time. See what other providers offer. Then take what you learn to your provider and see if they’ll give you a deal to stick with them. If not, and you aren’t in a contract with a timeframe . . . go ahead and make that switch.
15. Try a no-spend month.
Let’s be honest: If you’re in the midst of trying to pay off debt or save money, every month should be a no-spend month. Keeping a needs-based, no-fluff budget for 30 days at a time can save hundreds if not thousands for some!
Because that’s what a no-spend month is—you commit to cutting out those non-essentials for one month.
Just make sure you know your parameters from day one (what you will and won’t buy). And do yourself a favor: Get an accountability partner or have a friend take the challenge with you. It seriously helps.
16. DIY . . . everything!
Before you shell out the cash to pay for a new backsplash, bench or fancy light fixture, think about doing it yourself. Usually, the cost of materials and a simple YouTube search will save you a ton of money here.
I’ll be honest—your girl is not crafty in any way, shape or form, so I’ll probably just wait until I can afford to pay a pro. But if projects are your thing, check out this list of 10 home projects you can probably tackle yourself!
17. Skip the coffee shop.
This one gets said so much some of you are rolling your eyes—but if you’ve got a big coffee shop habit, you can save big by becoming your own barista. And when you do go out for a treat, learn some coffee shop hacks so you aren’t paying full price for your fancy caffeine fix.
18. Get a library card.
Before you click Add to Cart on that brand-new book, get yourself a library card! And if you’re more into audiobooks or eBooks, grab an app like Libby that connects to your library so you can check out those versions from your phone or tablet.
19. Stuff your cash envelopes.
Step away from the plastic! Matter of fact, go ahead and take the credit and debit cards out of your wallet. If you really want to get serious about saving, start using the cash envelope system to practice mindful spending.
When you use cash, it activates the pain centers of your brain, creating more friction for every purchase. Simply put, when you spend cash, you feel it! And that helps you spend less—which means you save more!
20. Stay out of “that store.”
When you’re learning how to save money, don’t even think about putting yourself in a tempting environment. We all have “that store,” the one that encourages us to get all spendy and stuff. For me it’s Home Goods. For you, it’s (fill in the blank).
Know it. Own it. Avoid it! And then, replace that shopping trip with something else fun like baking cookies with the family. That way you still enjoy yourself without risking those pricey purchases.
21. Use cash-back apps and coupons.
Use coupons. You can clip them from actual paper or click them in an app, but this is money just waiting to be saved. Don’t sleep on it.
Then go one step further and check out cash-back apps to save even more on stuff you’re already going to buy. (Just don’t get talked into buying things you don’t need because of a deal—that’s not a deal. At all.)
22. Refinance your mortgage.
Let’s face it—with interest rates the way they are, for most of us, now is probably not the time to refinance. But keep this in your back pocket as a long-term money saver for later down the line if and when interest rates drop.
If you’ve got a 30-year mortgage, you’re spending a ton on interest over the life of that loan. A. Ton. Refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Talk with one of our RamseyTrusted Real Estate Agents to see if a refinance is worth it for you.
But even if the numbers don’t work out for you to do a formal refinance, you can keep your great rate and pay off your mortgage early by simply treating your 30-year mortgage like a 15-year mortgage and upping your payments on your own.
23. Learn the power of “no” (or “not now”).
We live in a world of instant gratification. Food from our favorite restaurants— boom! At our door in an hour or less. The show you want to binge—ready for you to hit play, now. The ads on social media say you need this, that and the other. And with the swipe of your finger, it’s at your doorstep. We’re a just a couple clicks away from nearly-instantly satisfying our desires for anything!
But if you’ll delay some of that gratification by using the magic of no or in some cases not now—you’ll save so much money, build better spending habits, and feel more contentment overall. Savings with a side of mental and emotional health? Hit me!
Saving Money Starts With a Budget
Saving money starts, ends and has everything in between to do with your budget. So make your budget. Right now.
Get all your income and expenses in there. Then start working through these tips. And all the money you save with all that work—stick it in the budget too!
Whether you budget already or not, check out EveryDollar. This is the budgeting app my family uses. EveryDollar played a huge role in helping us get out of debt, and it helps us set and stick to our money goals—one monthly budget at a time!
You can do this! Starting today, you can save more and spend less by using these 23 tips to make 2024 your best year with money yet.