Living frugally when you have lost a job is not easy. You’ve gone from being used to a monthly salary that you spend on what you’ve always needed to spend it on, to having to make cutbacks and save your pennies. One of the biggest adjustments to being put on a budget is the fact you have to make changes to your savings plans. You could have been used to saving money every single month and suddenly be thrown into a position where you can’t save anywhere near the amount you’ve been used to. Living within a tight budget can make it very difficult to save, and while you probably already have an emergency fund lined up to cover the usual expenses, what do you do if there’s something else that you want to buy and can’t afford?
Finding the small ways to put money to one side can help you go a long way to saving big money – which is pretty much what you want. You want to stick to a budget while still keeping your savings account replenished, which means you need to be clever and crafty with your cash. You can still save money, even on the smallest shoestring. We’ve got some of the best ways you can ensure you build up your cash, and you’ll barely notice that you are doing it.
This will sound counterproductive, but one of the best ways to save money is to utilise your credit cards. This could be bank cards or your Target credit card. With bank cards, you can earn rewards on your purchases which save you money in the long run. With a Target card, you can save 5% of all purchases whenever you go through the till. While you are using credit cards, you can save money because you will be repaying those cards as part of your budget. This keeps your credit rating healthy and high, while giving you a percentage off your purchases as you go.
Whether you’re a fan of saving your change, or putting your $5 bills away, saving the small amounts is a great way to build up to big amounts while barely noticing what you are doing. Committing to saving small amounts of money means you barely notice the money leaving your wallet. Using a lockbox instead of a jar is a great way to ensure you don’t get tempted and dive into the money you’ve spent a lot of time saving up.
It’s important to reward yourself for good deeds, right? So, if you have committed to attending the gym, why not start putting a dollar away for every mile run, or every pound lost? It can keep you on track to reward yourself when you achieve small goals and the money you save will slowly build up. The slower the cash builds up, the less you notice leaving your purse. Before you know it, you’ve hit your fitness target and you’ve saved enough cash for that item you wanted to buy.
Bank Account Roundup
Not every bill in your home will come to the exact amount you’ve budgeted. If you have a budget of $80 for the grocery bill, and you come in at $60, then you’ve just earned yourself some more cash that you didn’t have. That $20 surplus money can be moved into your savings account, and slowly but surely you’ll notice you have extra cash to play with that you didn’t have before. If you do this with each of your utility bills alongside the groceries, you’ll notice that you’re putting aside small amounts of money purely by siphoning the excess cash over to your savings account. These will grow significantly over time.
Each week, sit down and log into your online bank account and check the balance. If your balance is $155.60, you’d move the $5.60 from your main account to your savings account. Doing this on a weekly basis can encourage you to keep rounded numbers in your bank account and mean that you are able to save up your cash. Those small amounts are so insignificant that you won’t notice the difference when they leave your account, but in a few months when you check on your savings, you’ll sure notice the difference.
Strolling into Starbucks for that extra strong caramel latte is a treat, that’s for sure, but if you find yourself treating yourself more and more to those coffees you could be spending upward of $30 a week. On coffee. It’s just not okay and it can be shocking to realise how much of your cash you’re literally liquidising. Make a promise to yourself to change your coffee treats to once a week and start saving up the money you no longer spend on coffee. If coffee isn’t your thing, look at your budget and work out what it is you spend on the most. Making an indulgence a treat rather than something regular can really help you out financially, as well as help your health.
Get App Happy
Have you ever heard of Digit? Digit is an app that links your checking account to your savings account. It finds money where you aren’t sure you have any at all, and moves it to the right account for you without you having to spend much time worrying. A couple of bucks here and there means you won’t notice, nor will it change the way you spend money, but there it builds so that you have money saved up.
Saving in a small way each month can end up with big results, without interfering with your monthly budget that you’ve spend time managing and honing carefully. There’s no need to panic about your savings account being empty when you can do so many little things that will count in the long run, even if they don’t add magic cash to your account straight away.