Saving money seems like the one thing that should be easy to do in the middle of a pandemic, right? We’re going out less, eating in more, and if we’ve been lucky enough to keep our jobs, then it seems like reaching our savings goals should be a lot easier.
The fact of the matter is that saving is not always that simple: it takes patience, discipline, and, most importantly, a plan. Check out these six easy ways to get started on saving, no matter the circumstances.
#1 Ask About Discounts
There’s a saying: closed mouths don’t get fed. There are so many discounts out there just waiting for you to ask about them! If you ask and get told there’s nothing available, remember that you always have the power to negotiate.
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic—trust and believe that there is room to negotiate a better price or a lower payment. Even when the world starts to open back up, keep your eye out for discounts and never be afraid to ask. Check out some tips for asking for discounts.
#2 Cut Down on Grocery Expenses
Grocery shopping is simply a must, whether you’re only responsible for feeding yourself or for a large family. The key to cutting down on grocery expenses is not to be greedy, and to keep yourself from getting caught making impulse purchases.
Focus on buying only what you need and not indulging as much in those wants. Use coupons, loyalty programs, and in-store deals to bring the price down even further. Finally, make sure you actually use all the food you buy—if you’re wasting food, you’re wasting money.
Cutting back on your grocery bill will free up extra cash that you can then direct right to your savings account.
#3 Say Farewell to Cable
There’s no better time to cut the cord than right now! All our favorite content and shows are available on streaming platforms, and getting rid of cable can save you a bundle every single year.
The average monthly price for cable is $107/month, which adds up to over $1,200 every year! If you only sign up for the streaming services you’ll actually use, you will still have access to all the best content while saving a ton of money.
Additionally, there’s always the “sharing is caring” method. Get together with some friends or family and decide who will sign up for what streaming service, then share the password and set each person up with a screen. That way everyone can watch content without breaking the bank.
#4 Use Saving Apps
Everything seems to move quickly these days, and that includes the money coming into and leaving our bank accounts! It can be intimidating to get started on saving when just keeping track of your current expenses is overwhelming.
To help you get started on your saving journey, we encourage you to sign up for a savings app, like Digit. Digit is a mobile phone app that takes the work out of saving money. The app will analyze your income and spending patterns, then dip into your checking account and move a few dollars into a savings account (the usual range is $2-17, every 2-3 days).
The cool thing about Digit is that you can set it to save as little or as much as you want and direct that money right towards your savings goals! Digit truly helps you save without adding another chore to your to-do list.
#5 Limit Dining Out
Eating out all the time can hit your pockets hard—and that includes takeout. Start preparing your food at home and watch the savings pile up, month after month. You’ll find that eating at home is often much cheaper and much higher quality!
Since many places still aren’t fully open for dining it, take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to make homemade meals. Cooking for yourself keeps you safely socially distanced, and allows you to enjoy a nice meal!
You can buy a solid week’s worth of groceries for the same price as just a few meals at a restaurant. Limiting your dining out is an easy way to develop some new skills and keep money in your accounts.
#6 Pay in Cash
It’s possible to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and actually build savings, and paying in cash is one method that can help. Some people say they steer clear of using cash because they don’t want to overspend, but limiting yourself to cash can be a game-changer.
When using a debit or credit card for purchases, it becomes easy to lose track of how much we’re spending. Without realizing it, we can dip into our savings, overdraft, or charge more on a card than we have available to pay it off at the end of the month.
Paying in cash means you always know exactly how much you have left to spend. You can even separate your cash into different categories so you have an even clearer idea of how much you’re spending and how much is left.
It doesn’t matter where you are in life, how old you are, or what job you have. You can start to save—don’t let your current circumstances stop you from trying! Have you tried any of these methods when cutting back expenses and saving? If so, which methods did you find most helpful? Don’t forget to join the conversation via our City Girl Savings Facebook group! We love hearing from you!