In 2022, recent studies show that 64% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. As the cost of living continues to reach historically high rates, gas prices hitting record highs, and the threats of an economic recession, it is now more critical than ever for Americans to find ways to cut back and save money wherever possible. Today’s blog will look at not just average but BRILLIANT money-savings tips you might not have thought of.
1) Review Your Insurance Policies
When was the last time you had your home and auto insurance reviewed? Talk to any independent P&C insurance agent, send them the declaration pages from both your home and auto and see if they can find a company that will insure you for less. Be sure you are not losing any coverage by doing so. Chances are, you can save by switching to another provider.
Because not all insurance companies are created equal, you might fall under the preferred rates for one provider but not another. Maybe Provider A rewards a good driving record more than Provider B. Maybe Provider B provides a better rate for a security system than Provider A. There are many nuances to how insurance companies price their policies, and the best way to find out the best rate for you would be to have an independent agent work on your behalf to find the best company for you.
2) Trade Vacation for a Staycation
When was the last time you explored your own backyard? Traveling in 2022 is not exactly geared towards the budget-friendly traveler. With airlines canceling flights as they struggle to employ a whole flight crew and gas prices soaring, air travel and road tripping costs have skyrocketed.
But adventure-seekers don’t need to let that bring them down!
The US has something worth exploring in every state within a short driving distance. Yes, even you, Iowa. Need help getting started? Check out this list.
Trading the traveling vacation for something closer to home will save you money and can be just as fun! Plus, as a bonus, you will be able to provide firsthand recommendations for out-of-towners coming to visit.
3) Use an App to Monitor Your Spending
Apps like “You Need a Budget”, Mint, Goodbudget, Everydollar, or Honeydue can help you monitor your spending by connecting with your bank accounts, so it is all automated.
Take advantage of categorizing your spending so you do not get overwhelmed by the number of transactions and can better understand how your spending is allocated. When combined with your written budget, you can compare and look for discrepancies between how you WANT to spend your money and how you are ACTUALLY spending your money. This practice is enlightening and can help ensure you and your significant other are on the same track. For more on budgeting with a spouse, check out this blog we wrote on that topic.
4) Consolidate Subscriptions
Every year about 5 million people take the plunge to “cut the cord” to their cable television. By the end of 2022, 55.1% of Americans will be without traditional cable. While this can save you money by only paying for the stations or shows you want to watch, it can add up quickly.
Consider $12/month for Hulu Plus, $15/month for Netflix, $9/month for Amazon video, $7/month for Disney+, $7/month for ESPN+ and $15/month for HBO Max. Suddenly you are paying $65/month, which might not actually be that much cheaper than you were paying for cable!
The good news is that you can consolidate and save money. Deals are coming and going all of the time. Hulu and Spotify often offer bundles together. Disney has promotions with ESPN and Hulu. Also, Youtube TV offers many of the same content as Hulu and ESPN+, so perhaps if you find yourself subscribing to a lot of channels, it makes sense to cancel all of them and go with Youtube TV!
5) Use Cash
There’s still something very powerful about spending with cash. These are hard-earned dollars that you’ve spent valuable time to earn. We find people are slower, more careful, and more diligent when they spend cash rather than swiping a card.
Using cash also allows you to implement the envelope system if you choose. The envelope system requires you to take your cash and allocate a certain amount of cash to each one. Have a savings envelope as well! Physically putting cash in the envelope and watching it grow is empowering!
6) Have Payroll Automate Your Savings Contributions
Maybe using cash isn’t your thing, but you still want to see your savings grow. One way to do this is to talk to your payroll department and ask them to take a certain percentage of your paycheck and direct deposit it into a separate account.
The most effective way of doing this would be to set up an account with a bank that is separate from your primary checking account. This will help the account to grow out of sight, out of mind and you will be less tempted to access the money.
Start small—no need to shock your quality of living. If you start small, maybe 1-2% of your paycheck, and increase that by 1% every few months, you will never know it is gone. Try and get to a point where you are setting aside 15% of your gross paycheck between retirement savings such as a 401(k) and a normal savings account.
7) Consolidate Debt
Not all debt is created equal. While debt can be an instrument that can be leveraged when appropriate, high-interest consumer debt such as credit cards is never advisable. If you are paying 15% or higher on debt, your consolidation options would be worth looking at. Perhaps a personal loan, a cash-out refinance, or even a HELOC might make sense in your situation to save money on monthly debt obligations.
Talk to your advisor before doing so; you do not want to get into a situation where you are over your head – especially for secured loans with personal collateral on the line.
8) Join a Buy Nothing group on Facebook
Have you ever heard of these? They are growing in popularity and can be found in most cities. Search for “Buy Nothing,” followed by the name of your city, in the Facebook search bar. The Buy Nothing group is a movement of like-minded people who believe resources should be shared with one another rather than bought and sold.
The kindness of a neighbor in giving you what you need and returning that favor by providing something of value that you no longer need will be heartwarming and resourceful at the same time. Give it a try!
9) Sell on Facebook Marketplace (not a garage sale!)
What to do with all that unwanted junk in the basement? That’s the question. While you may be tempted to throw it away or drop it off at the neighborhood garage sale, consider instead using Facebook Marketplace to sell the items.
If the thought of taking pictures of the items, uploading them to Facebook, writing a description, setting a price, and dealing with the back-and-forth communication with potential buyers overwhelms you, think about having a neighbor kid come over and do the work for you. You could pay them a commission on whatever they sell which would incentivize them to sell the items at top dollar!
Sure, you can make money in garage sales, but people at garage sales expect garage pricing. You will do far better if you sell the items individually.
10) Buy in bulk
This is an oldy but a goody. Buying in bulk through a Costco membership or online on items that you know you will need in the future, especially if you have an excellent place to store said items, can be a fantastic, dare we say brilliant way to save money.
Some items that work well for buying in bulk include food items with no expiration date, household essentials like cleaners, toilet paper, and paper towels, along with bathroom toiletries.
Who wants to spend money when you can spend less money, save more, and still enjoy the same quality of life? While there are thousands of ways to save money, these ten should give you a jump start while not substantially bringing down your quality of living.
Let us know how you are saving money in creative ways!