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Saving more money is often a lot easier said than done. But when you find a strategy that actually works well for you, it can really help you make progress toward your saving goals. So how do you figure out what to even try?
To give you some ideas, I asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the money-saving tips that really work for them, and scoured the comments in our past money-saving posts for even more tips that people swear by.
Remember, these tips come from individuals sharing what works for them, but money is really personal. Some of these tips might be great for you and others not so much, so take what you like and leave the rest.
1. "Check your balance every day. It's such a simple thing, but it's helped me so much. I was overdrawn almost every week because I was trying to keep a running total in my head, ignoring my balance, and thinking everything was good."
2. "I ask myself if it's worth however many hours of work it would take for me to pay for it. Great shirt would cost five hours of my work day — worth it or nah? Buying this book would cost two hours, but will keep me entertained for a week — worth it or nah?"
3. "Download one of those apps that shows you every transaction you're making (you link it to your bank account and your credit cards). Some of them will also ask you if you really want to keep spending money on a recurring service (like Netflix, Hulu, etc.). Looking at it will show you how much it's costing you and if it's worth it in the long run."
4. "If a single item is more than $20 and I don’t NEED it for an emergency, I make myself wait a few days before buying it."
5. "Unsubscribing from whatever brand's mailing list. Not seeing the amazing sales and not being tempted to check the website resulted in saving a lot of money that I would have unnecessarily spent on things I don't need."
"Sure, that shirt is pretty and is 60% off, but does it really save money if you don't need it?"
6. "Honestly, switching over to a capsule wardrobe. I remember standing in front of a closet full of clothes thinking, I have nothing to wear, because I just wore the same few pieces over and over again."
"Actually saying I have one and committing to a capsule wardrobe has cut down on frivolous clothes shopping tremendously. I save a lot of money by not just buying random clothes that catch my eye, and I no longer mindlessly online shop when bored. I still occasionally buy new pieces (I just got a new job so I needed new clothes), but I can justify that instead of buying a shirt I may only wear twice."
7. "Learn to sew and do basic repairs. My mom taught me as a kid, and I got a good-quality machine secondhand when my local high school's clothing lab was upgrading and sold their old ones. I have four kids, a husband, usually a few foster kids at any given time, and clothes are expensive."
8. "For clothes: Will you wear it at least the amount of times it costs (one wear for every dollar)? I heard that when I was young, and it’s stuck with me through adulthood!"
9. "$20 from every paycheck goes into an account I can only withdraw from by going into the bank. It’s not a lot, but it’s a good rainy-day fund."
10. "I switched phone providers. I went from paying $50/month to $15/month. That's a savings of $420/year!"
11. "I stopped spending $5 bills 10 years ago. When I get them, they get tucked away and eventually deposited into a special savings account. My $5 account currently has $25,000 in it 😊."
12. "After the pandemic hit, I started grocery shopping once a week instead of my usual 'every other day' grocery shopping. I've never spent less money on groceries, and I've been on my own for over 15 years 😂."
Psst, looking for more ways to save on groceries? Check out these 38 grocery-shopping hacks that people say have saved them a ton.
13. "Two words — BATCH. COOKING. It's so much cheaper, and we don't have to go grocery shopping nearly as often. Plus, when we get home from work, we have a hot meal in just a few minutes with minimal washing up afterwards."
"All it takes is one day of cooking, and we generally end up with around two weeks' worth of meals. It costs us around $30 to $40 for the ingredients, many of which are non-perishable and go even further."
14. "My boyfriend and I tend to not get each other bday or Xmas gifts. In lieu of material items, we'll each put $10–$30 per week (or what we can afford) in a 'vacation fund.' $20 each per week adds up to over $2K per year, which can be a few nice road trips without having to break the bank."
15. "I have 80% of my check direct deposited into my primary checking account, 10% into my primary savings account, and 10% deposited into a savings account at a different credit union. The secondary savings doesn’t have a debit card, so I have to think twice to access it."
16. "Acorns is fantastic. I read about in a BuzzFeed New Year's post in 2020 and started an account then with a conservative investment profile and only $5 going in every month. I made one big $600 withdrawal in July, and currently have over $900 in it. Love that it helps me save and grow money without me having to think about it."
17. "This is controversial and definitely doesn't apply to everyone, but I actually think credit cards can be really positive. I always always pay the full amount, and I also shopped around to get a credit card with great cash back that I can apply directly to my bills."
18. "I use Cash App Card instead of my debit card. I add a planned amount so I only see like $100 available instead of my entire bank account. Then I use their “boost” for instant savings. Last week I saved $3.75 on gasoline, $1.50 on a car wash, and $6 on groceries, plus added .56 to my bitcoin account."
19. "I only like to spend money once a day — like, whether it’s buying lunch, a coffee in the morning, or a drink after work. And some days I just go straight to work and come home and bring my lunch so I don’t need to spend money at all, unless it’s like a regular bill."
20. "If you have a 401(k) at work, anytime you get a raise, bump up your 401(k) contribution by 1%. Assuming your raise was more than 1%, you still get more take-home pay, and will never miss the other 1% you’re saving. Also, if your company matches 401(k) contributions, make sure you get the max!"
21. "Whenever I have used my debit card, I go on to my banking app and transfer the change into my savings. For example if I have $212.87, I will transfer the 87 cents or $2.87 if I can afford it."
"It adds up quickly, and you don't miss it. Plus if you need it, you can transfer it back fast. I know there are various apps that do this, but I find it quicker, easier, and free to do it myself."
If you'd rather have your change go to your savings automatically, you can check out apps like Qapital or see if your bank offers automatic transfers like Bank of America's Keep the Change program. Or if you're interested in investing, you can set up your Acorns account to invest your change.
22. "It's super simple, but I found creating a "no spend list" to be super helpful. I set time limits on things, like not buying any new clothes for three months, or no new makeup for four months, etc."
"I didn't have a lot of extra money coming in, so it was one of the only ways I could create some savings. After a while, I found myself just kind of stretching the time limits because most of the stuff wasn't anything I actually needed anyway."
23. And finally, "While I agree about putting money away and how it can grow, don’t forget to budget for a little joy if you can. If you get a gift check or bonus, split it so you can spend on something that makes you happy now, and save to feel secure in the future. In the end, I try to think of money as a tool for living, and my life is better sometimes with a $25 thing I love than with an extra $25 in savings."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.
Now it's your turn! Share your favorite money-saving tip in the comments.
And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts!