If you find yourself shocked at how much you’ve spent this month at the end of every month and are always asking yourself how to stop spending money on unnecessary things and how can I save money, this blog post is for you.
It’s incredibly important to start developing healthy financial habits as early as possible. While you may not be thinking about what your life will look like 30 years from now, your financial habits will play a big role. I am a forward-thinker to a fault, so financial health is incredibly important to me. That being said, I am not a finance bro nor am I any kind of financial expert or advisor. However, I am on top of my finances and am always learning how to make the most of what I have and set myself up for a stable future, which is why I decided to share my seven favorite tips to help you save more money.
I’ll be covering:
- Automatic Payments and Transfers
- Should You Be Budgeting?
- 4 Apps to Help You Save Money
- Save Money with Credit Card Rewards
Let’s get you in financial shape!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links can help me earn money but will not cost you extra.
Automatic Payments and Transfers
Before you start putting extra thought into how you can shape up your budget or earn extra money easily, you need to make sure you’re not necessarily spending on things like late fees.
The number one way to do this is simply to set up automatic payments so you can never be in the situation of forgetting to pay your bills. This will not only help you avoid late fees, but it will also help you be sure you’re not accidentally spending your rent money on Aritizia.
In addition to automatic payments for essentials that come with a late fee, I recommend setting up automatic transfers into a high-yield savings account or Robo investing account (like Acorns or WealthFront). While it’s not necessary, I highly recommend putting aside money every month for just general savings and for investments. Even a small amount is better than nothing!
And if you haven’t started investing because you don’t know anything about stocks, a Robo investor is the perfect way to start. Based on your risk profile (the level of risk you’re comfortable with), they invest and develop a diverse portfolio for you. Especially if you set up auto transfers, all you have to do is sit back and wait!
Should You Be Budgeting?
I firmly believe that everyone should be budgeting. However, I don’t necessarily believe that everyone needs to do so in the same way. For someone like me, manually tracking through a spreadsheet is effective and satisfying. For someone else, it’s probably entirely too overwhelming and daunting. The key is finding a method that works for you.
How to make a budget
If you’re a manual entry person like me, a Google sheet can do wonders for you. This template is a great starting point and allows you to track your income and expenses by category.
A more sophisticated version of this is You Need A Budget (YNAB). This method has been highly recommended to me, however, it just didn’t work for me. it also comes with a cost of $15 a month, which is well worth it if you like it after doing their free trial.
Another more automated option is Mint. You link all of your accounts and cards and it helps you create a budget based on your average spending in different categories. This is really the most centralized and automated version if you’re happier with a more hands-off approach.
The 50/20/30 method for budgeting
If you don’t want to track each individual dollar you spend, an easy way to loosely budget is dividing your income into 50% for essentials (think rent, groceries, gas, insurance, bills), 20% for savings, and 30% for “fun.” If you’re roughly following this, you’ll be able to make sure you cover all of your basics, put aside something for savings each month, and then spend on anything else you want without worrying.
4 Apps to Help You Save Money
How to save money on groceries: Rakuten
You’ve probably heard of this one before and I have to be honest, it’s a mixed bag.
My favorite thing about this app that makes it worth using is that I can link my credit card so I automatically get cashback when shopping in-store at certain places, including Kroger!
However, it can be a hassle to look for deals and cashback. It’s easy to forget when you’re shopping for something. If you can remember to use it or are diligent about checking for deals, it can be super useful.
Even if you’re not a diligent deal scanner, if you shop for groceries at Kroger, it’s still worth setting up just for that little bit of cashback.
How to save money when shopping: Honey
I have been using Honey for years and absolutely love it. With the Honey browser extension (works on computers and on phones!), you can “droplist” items that you want to watch for price drops. You can view past price changes (pictured below) and Honey will notify you if the price drops on that item.
That feature is super helpful for getting the best deal on items, but my real favorite Honey feature is the automatic coupon checking. When you enable the Honey extension when you’re checking out, it will automatically test coupons that it has found on the internet to see if they’ll apply to your cart. This has saved me a ton of money! The worst feeling is buying something only to find out immediately after how much cheaper you could have gotten it.
The last Honey feature is Honey Gold, which is essentially just cashback. I’ve gotten anywhere from 2-9% back. When you’re shopping with the extension installed, it will pop up when you’re checking out and allow you to activate Honey Gold for this purchase – no more work required!
How to save money on Gas: GetUpside
Unless you live in a walkable city (rare in the U.S.), you’re probably already spending money on gas very regularly. Especially with gas prices going up the last few months, your pockets might be feeling a little light! I know I cringed every time I had to pump gas. Luckily, there’s an app that actually offers you cashback just for getting gas. They also offer cashback at select grocery stores if you happen to shop there.
Will you become a millionaire with cashback on your gas? Definitely not. But, it doesn’t hurt!
How to save money on eating out: Seated
If you love eating out and cannot imagine giving up takeout for the sake of your budget, you need to get Seated.
Unfortunately, Seated doesn’t work in every city. However, if it does work in your city, you can earn up to 35% cashback on your meal. The best rewards are for actually eating at restaurants but they also offer smaller cashback rewards on delivery and pickup orders.
So far, I’ve earned $105 by dining out only five times! The catch is that you can only redeem the rewards for gift cards. But, with gift cards to Uber, Amazon, Target, Sephora, Starbucks, and even Airbnb and hotels.com, it’s still totally worth it!
Save Money With Credit Card Rewards
Lastly, if you have a credit card or are getting one soon, you need to make sure you’re maximizing the benefits of your card! I have an American Express Platinum card because I found that the benefits offered were things that I would actually make use of and outweighed the annual fee that deters some people.
Some of my favorite rewards and perks include:
- $15 in Uber/UberEats cash every month ($25 in December, $200 total annualy)
- $240 annual “entertainment” credit (this completely covers my Audible and NYT subscriptions)
- $200 hotel credit (only applies to certain hotels, but still a great reward!)
- $200 airline fee credit
- Free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck ($85 value)
- Additional rotating deals for shopping and eating out
While this really was the best card for me, it’s important that you read about it in detail and make an informed decision before you commit. If you are looking for your first credit card or are intimidated by the steep annual fee of this card, another great card (with tons of great perks!) is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.