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    Updated on Jul 25, 2020. Posted on Jul 22, 2020

    20 Small Ways To Save More Money (Even If Your Budget Is Already Tight)

    Even if you try only one or two, these can really help.

    As the pandemic stretches on, it makes sense to reevaluate your daily and weekly habits — including your financial ones.

    Adam Ellis / BuzzFeed

    Even if you're making significantly less income right now — or you're unable to set aside as much as you'd like for savings — there are still small (yet meaningful!) ways to gradually make your spending and saving more efficient. Here are a few of them.

    1. Log your weekly (or monthly) spending — and be honest with yourself.

    2. Use apps that automatically move money to your savings account.

    Digit

    Apps like Digit analyze your account and then take small increments from your checking account (so small, you likely wouldn't notice them on a day-to-day basis) and move them into a separate account for you to transfer to your savings later. All you have to do is download it and let it do the work in the background.

    3. Use the cash envelope method.

    YouTube / Via whatsmypricemovie.com

    It's easier to overspend with credit cards, so several BuzzFeed Community users swear by the cash envelope method, which can mean taking out a set amount of cash and setting it aside for something specific.

    4. Meal-prep as much as you can.

    Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed / Via Tasty.co

    You've probably been cooking a lot in this pandemic and are rightfully over it. (Same!) But meal prepping can seriously save you so much money down the line, and there are plenty of easy, cheap, healthy, quick meals to choose from.

    5. Make sure your grocery list actually saves you money, though.

    BuzzFeed / Via media1.tenor.com

    Few things are as aggravating as getting excited about cooking to save money, ringing up your groceries, and realizing your $62 receipt only covers you for like four meals.

    Try to buy only the groceries you need (versus snacks, booze, appetizers, etc.), and if there are ingredients that you can plausibly skip (like fresh herbs or an out-of-season vegetable that you can easily swap), consider doing that, too.

    Read more: "Here's How I Cooked Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner All Week for Just $40"

    6. And stick to a firm list when you go shopping.

    Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

    It's a whole trope that you go to Target or Trader Joe's for one thing and end up with a cart full of...well, things you don't need. That's why it's good to use the Notes app on your phone to make a list that you can cross off and stick to.

    7. Try to finish everything you buy.

    NBC

    It's great to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and stay healthy, but if you always end up mournfully tossing something each week, try to reassess. It can also be a great idea to just switch to frozen produce so you don't have to waste as much (like frozen berries, spinach, or stir-fry veggies).

    8. Get a high-interest savings account so you earn more money.

    investopedia.com

    Another easy way to save money without much effort is to get a high-interest savings account. (Here's a list of some of the top ones as of July 2020.) Some require monthly fees, depending on how much you have in savings, but in general, they're a good way to get extra cash back as you save more.

    9. Save a percentage of your paycheck. (Especially if you're a freelancer!)

    New Line Cinema

    If you have a full-time job where your employer is already withholding taxes, you should still aim to put away something each time. (Some people swear by 20% of the paycheck, but depending on what your situation is, that can be impossible.) Just try to find something you're comfortable with, no matter how small.

    If you're a freelancer, this is extra important because (unless you're working under a W-2) your paid invoices are pretaxed, meaning you will owe money to the government when you pay taxes. A good rule of thumb is to save 33% of each paycheck, but personally, I try to do half so that I'm still adding to my actual savings versus just what I'll need to pay back later.

    10. Collect your spare change.

    Disney

    It can feel like small change, but it's still something, and if you've been collecting for a long time, the $70-ish you get back is well worth the trek to your bank or to a Coinstar.

    11. Keep all of your gift cards in one place — and use apps like Honey when making purchases.

    Comedy Central

    It's easy to lose track of gift cards, so try to keep them all in one place where you can look through them every time you plan to make a purchase anywhere. Also, download apps like Honey that automatically search for coupons and savings every time you buy something online.

    12. Don't save your bank info on websites where you tend to overspend.

    Sephora

    Sure, it's annoying to have to grab your wallet and retype all of your credit card info every time, but that's the point! Personally, I've thwarted many an impulsive targeted-ad buy by being too lazy to get up.

    13. Clean out your home — you might already have exactly what you need.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    This is coming from someone who recently found a tube of *just* the shade of concealer I needed buried in my closet, a pack of sponges I was just about to buy, and an envelope of birthday cash I forgot to open from over a year ago.

    14. Think of what you can realistically sell right now.

    Poshmark / Via gifer.com

    If you have clothes that are in good condition, consider using a service like Poshmark. If you have a stack of books you know you won't reread, search for a nearby used bookstore that's open right now (or save the books for when it is).

    Read more: "7 of the Best Resale Platforms to Help Clean Out Your Closet"

    15. DIY your own mini project in your home or apartment.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    If you've been in the same space for months, it makes sense to want to reorganize or redecorate, and you should! There are plenty of ways to do it cheaply and creatively, so a makeover doesn't have to mean buying all-new decor.

    Paint a shelving unit you found on someone's stoop. Knit a hanging basket for your plant. Freshen up your kitchen with stainless steel paint. It's a great way to save money, treat yourself, and have something productive to do if your days are blending together.

    16. Make. Your. Own. Coffee.

    ABC

    There are tons of different methods, and they all save you from spending $5 on a latte.

    17. Apply for a cash-back or rewards credit card.

    Citi / Via forbes.com

    As mentioned, it's easier to overspend with cards — but they can be used responsibly, too. Cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash Card don't require monthly fees but earn you back a percentage when you use them. Personally, I use the Double Cash and like it because it gives you 1% back when you pay your bill on time, so you're incentivized to only use the card for what you know you can pay back.

    Read more: "8 Credit Cards to Get if You Love Free Money"

    18. Utilize free entertainment as much as you can.

    Hulu

    This can be anything from taking free online classes, doing workouts via YouTube, or downloading a library book app so you can check out e-books instead of buying them each time.

    19. Find personal, free gifts you can give people.

    NBC

    Even if you're great at not buying stuff for yourself, it might get harder if you want to splurge on flowers for your mom's birthday or a housewarming gift for your best friend. But there are plenty of other things you can give that are just as (if not more) meaningful and special. Send a thoughtful postcard. Paint them something simple but pretty. It'll still matter and mean a great deal.

    20. As restaurants, bars, and stores open up again, assess what you really need.

    Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

    It's great and really important to help out small businesses, but hopefully in a way that doesn't drain your account now that you can get to-go cocktails. This is especially important if you plan on getting anything — a meal, a haircut — that requires a tip. If you can't tip generously, opt out for now.

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