You know that you need to save money. You probably wish you could save more than you do. Often, saving is simply a matter of finding a few dollars here, a few there—and holding onto them. Just like spending a few dollars here and there, it all eventually adds up. So, it pays to find ways to maximize your savings and learn how to save money any time you can.
Use smartphone apps to track your spending and to save money. Type save money, how to save money, apps to save money or any similar phrase into your apps search bar, and you’ll immediately see options appear. You’ll find apps that you can link to your checking or savings accounts — apps that can analyze your income and spending and automatically save or invest for you. Some are free while others may carry in-app or subscription fees. As always, though, you should exercise caution with any app that has a direct connection to your bank account. Make sure to verify that any app you use is safe and trusted by the financial community
Switch to banking products that let your money make money with dividends and cashback. From your checking and savings accounts to your credit and debit cards, you can choose to open and use accounts that will reward you for your loyalty. Accrue monthly dividends from your checking and savings. Avoid ATM fees and minimum balance fees that can erode balances. See what other perks and rewards your bank accounts offer for free or at a discount and use those opportunities to save.
Have both a checking and a savings account to separate and manage your funds. Saving can be difficult when you think of savings as what’s left. Money that hangs in checking has a tendency to disappear. Instead, maintain both checking and savings accounts—one for doing everyday business, one for saving long term. Most importantly, always put something in savings each payday, and keep it there!
Open separate, dedicated accounts for planned discretionary spending. Have you been trying to save for a vacation, but the money keeps disappearing into car repairs or incidentals? What about Christmas? How will you pay for gifts? You can use dedicated accounts designed to save and allocate funds. Once your money is in a purposed account, it’s more likely to remain there.
Invest for the future. Each year, life events like retirement or funding a child’s education come another year closer until they're upon you. Retirement accounts like 401(k)s and the assorted types of IRAs—Individual Retirement Accounts—let you save money tax-free and accrue interest. Plus, you can earmark funds to have them automatically deducted from your pay and deposited to the appropriate account. In fact, setting aside IRA money each year can even save you money on your income tax return.
Monitor your bills. To understand what you’re paying for, carefully review every bill. Companies do make mistakes or institute system upgrades that can result in erroneous changes to your plan or additional charges for services you may not need or want. Hikes in budgeted bills like insurance or subscription services, for example, may merit a phone call and negotiation for a better price.
Make sure you recognize the charges on your credit cards. Fraud is real. While we often think of large-ticket items triggering an alert, some fraudsters are more subtle. Charges for just a few dollars may test the card or seek to slip through unnoticed. Even with small charges, if you notice anything that doesn’t look familiar, notify your credit card company to protect your account from future charges. Also, with many companies and services encouraging auto-pay, ensure that any subscriptions or automatic payments billed to your credit card do in fact stop when you cancel services.
Plan for your basic wants and needs. Constantly ordering or eating out is expensive and only serves the moment. So, make a list, and order your groceries. Cook meals that will provide leftovers for lunches or sandwiches, and fill a cup, bottle or thermos with your beverage of choice. This can save a little each week that would otherwise be splurged on eating out.
If you want to make your money work for you, reach out to the friendly financial specialists at La Capitol Federal Credit Union. Enjoy online banking and a mobile app to help you every step of the way. We offer competitive rates and perks on everything from checking and savings accounts to personal investment tools that will let your money grow with you.