Now more than ever, we’re all trying to save money. The challenges of recent years have shown us how unpredictable life can be – and how it can hit our wallets. When thinking about your finances, it’s wise to consider these money-saving tips.
1. Use Technology
There are software and apps that can help you:
- Automate your savings by rounding up purchases to the next dollar and transferring the change into a savings account.
- Find new ways to save, from clipping digital coupons to using artificial intelligence to reveal spending patterns.
- Search for better deals.
Technology doesn’t need to be complex to work for you. It can be as simple as getting a text message every morning to review your account balances.
2. Follow the Money
Consider an app that pulls together all your accounts for easy review. Or use something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or pen and paper.
Start with benchmarking where you currently are. Track your savings in whatever way works for you. You may notice that small regular meal deliveries or convenience purchases add up.
At the end of the month and quarter, check your spending patterns. This helps you spot unhealthy habits that could lead to saving money when you eliminate them.
3. Pay for Your Future First
Your savings are as essential as your purchases. You never know when an emergency will happen. Create a rainy-day fund that holds three to six months’ expenses. It seems like a lot, but every big account begins with a few dollars.
4. Make a Plan
We often see a shiny new device or outfit and buy it on impulse. Instead, plan and save in advance so you know that you’ll have the money. You may find that by the time you accumulate enough to buy that special item, you no longer want it. The extra savings can be put towards your retirement or a bonus for your emergency fund.
Having multiple bank accounts can also help keep your savings accounts out of sight and out of mind.
5. Build Better Habits
Habits drive many of our spending and saving decisions. Start with assessing and rethinking your habits. For example, instead of a fancy dinner out, buy gourmet ingredients at the store and cook a deluxe meal at home. Or, instead of name brand clothes, shop bargains.
Create routines for reviewing your finances, paying bills and sorting out problems. Set calendar reminders to cancel free trials or renegotiate with vendors. And don’t forget to submit reimbursements for work expenses or flex spending receipts.
The streaming video subscription, game app download or impulse Instagram signup may be costing you money without returning much benefit. Do you really need the monthly delivery of quirky socks? Time to cancel!
When it comes to saving money, this is a golden rule. It also applies to magazines, newspapers, food boxes, cosmetics deliveries or anything that hits your credit card bill automatically. Say you enjoy multiple video streaming services. How do you decide which to let go? Here’s an idea: cancel them all. That will help you figure out which one you miss. You can always resubscribe. Or consider rotating through each one, month by month. You’ll get to see all your favorite shows without having to pay for them all at the same time.
7. Negotiate for Everything
Ask your current vendors for deals. Saving money this way could be as simple as entering a coupon code and receiving 15% off your phone bill every month. Here’s a pro tip - set up that calendar reminder so you don’t forget to renegotiate or cancel in six months.
8. Use Your Employee Benefits
Check out the discounts and deals offered by your company, whether that’s movie tickets, rental cars or gift cards. If you already use the service, like a subscription, you may be able to swap to the lower price without cancelling and resubscribing. Just call customer service to inquire. You may be leaving money on the table by not using benefits offered by your employer.
What about an employer match for a gym membership, quitting smoking or other wellness program? Or a discount for a public transportation card or parking? Don’t let the hassle of filling out a few forms stop you from saving money.
This tip for saving money almost sounds too simple. When you’re about to make a purchase, ask yourself if you could wait a week, a month or a year. Whenever you delay, you keep more cash in an account where it can earn interest (or you avoid running up finance charges on a credit card). You may also discover that you can do without the item. Try forcing yourself to wait for 24 hours before clicking “buy.”
10. Ask for Help
When times are tough, it can seem you have nowhere to turn. But asking friends and family for support – whether with childcare, a ride or loan of an item – gives them an opportunity to feel good by helping you out.
If you need help with food, housing and health care, visit 211.org. This service can point you toward an emergency shelter or options for support with paying rent and utilities. It can connect you to resources in your community such as nonprofit meal delivery services, food pantries and public food assistance benefits. You can also find health providers that work on a sliding scale and discount cards for essential services.
This informational material shall not be considered financial advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for any financial, investment, or tax-related decisions. Those seeking resolution of specific financial, legal, tax, or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own financial, investment, tax, legal, or other business consultants, advisors, or other professionals.
The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries, under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at www.TheHartford.com.