When they’re all added together, small spending decisions make a big difference. Although it might seem like your spending decisions on a particular day have little to no impact on your overall financial wellbeing, the reality is that smarter daily spending is one of the best ways to set a new course for your financial future.
Better spending habits reduce the amount of money you need and increase your opportunities to save each month. Here are eight easy ways to save money in your daily life.
1. Plan out your meals for the week.
A lack of planning can lead to last-minute takeout or fast food—which come at a high price. Save yourself from these extra expenses by planning meals ahead of time. Over the weekend, figure out what you’ll be eating every day of the week the following week, and make a grocery list so that you have everything you’ll need. This extra planning will help you curb your restaurant spending.
2. Pay bills on time and in full.
Late bill payments can carry fees and interest rates that eat up your money—especially when it comes to credit cards. Make payments on time to avoid late fees, and pay the entire balance carried on credit cards to avoid interest penalties on your spending.
3. Never make a purchase out of impulse.
Impulse spending can add up, and it can rear its head in all kinds of situations. The threat of impulse purchases isn’t limited to that clothing sale you came across at the mall: It can also include smaller purchases such as extra snack items you pick up at the grocery store, or even your last-minute decision to order a medium coffee instead of a small.
Whenever possible, make a plan for your spending and stick to it. Even when you come across an item you want to buy, such as a new clothing item or a piece of furniture, walk away and give yourself time to consider the purchase. If you still want it a few hours (or even a few days) later—and if there’s room in your budget—go for it.
4. Buy used when possible.
Secondhand purchases are a simple way to get the items you want and need at a discounted price. This can be particularly useful when purchasing children’s clothes, school supplies, and toys. Other great options for buying used include furniture, cookware, clothing for any age, and sports equipment.
5. Improve your home’s energy efficiency.
A little upfront investment in your home’s heating, cooling, and electricity can lead to significant savings over time. LED light bulbs, for example, offer a significant energy savings over their lifetime when compared to incandescent bulbs. Similarly, energy-efficient home improvements such as caulking around windows and replacing your furnace air filter can reduce your energy use in both hot and cold weather.
6. Cut monthly subscriptions and recurring costs you don’t use.
Is your bank account getting charged with monthly fees for services you don’t regularly use? From streaming services to home delivery services, you may have recurring charges that can be cut to reduce your monthly expenses. Search your credit card and bank account statements for repeating charges you don’t need, and scale back your spending at a minimal sacrifice.
7. Enroll in the Pocket Change Savings Program.
With Pocket Change, all of your FSCB Debit Mastercard® purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar. The difference between your card’s charge and your purchase is then deposited into a savings account, helping you add to your savings with each purchase you make. This simple savings tool can help you save hundreds over the course of a year, jump-starting your savings or accelerating your savings goals.
8. Buy in bulk.
From pasta to toilet paper to laundry detergent, some items are going to keep popping up on your shopping list. When you know you’ll be buying these items repeatedly in the future, it often makes sense to purchase these items in bulk. With bulk purchasing, you spend a little more now to save more in the long run. Just be sure your bulk purchases are spent on essential everyday items, rather than high-cost items like potato chips and snack packs.
Little steps can make a difference.
Spending less and saving more doesn’t always require a big sacrifice. Sometimes all it takes is a little more attention to where and how you’re spending your money.
A regular savings plan can help protect you from unexpected expenses down the road. Learn more about saving money from our infographic, ”4 Tips for Building an Emergency Fund Savings Account.”