Let’s face it, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us griped about how saving money is so hard to do. By the time we pay our rent or mortgage, utilities, and make car or credit card payments, we often don’t have a whole lot of money left to put in a savings account. In fact, only about 30% of Americans even have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency fund. The coronavirus has made things even worse; with millions of people unemployed or underemployed, finding money to save each month is harder than ever. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you’re suffering some financial hardships right now, you can find ways to build your savings with minimal effort. Here are some great tips to make saving money painless for you, even during the pandemic.
Automate Your Savings
One of the best ways to make saving money painless is to automate some of your routine financial transactions. Set up a bill-paying mechanism, either with your bank or through an online bill-paying service, and automatically allocate a set amount to save each month. This will ensure that no matter what happens, and even if you’re not paying attention, you’ll still be saving money each month. Additionally, you should consider automating some of your routine bills; paying your bills automatically will save you time and effort, and help you avoid late fees if you forget to make payment on time. Additionally, some large companies even offer discounts when you automate your payments, which can help you save additional money.
Fix Your Credit
It can be difficult to save money if you have a bad credit rating. When your credit is subpar, you end up paying higher interest rates on mortgage and car loans, if you can qualify for them at all. A bad credit score may require you to pay a higher deposit on an apartment, too. If you want to save more money on everyday transactions, start working to improve your credit score right now. You can take one of many actions to repair your credit, from paying bills in a timely manner to correcting errors in your credit report. Take the time to review your annual credit report and see if improving your credit can start saving you a little bit of money.
Hunt for Bargains
If you want to save money, one of the best ways is to get thrifty and become a better shopper. Before you buy anything, shop around a bit and see where you can find the best price. Many apps allow you to comparison shop from the comfort of home, too, so always be searching for the best deal on whatever you’re planning to buy. You should consider using coupons as well, especially for the items that you buy routinely. You can still find coupons for grocery items in newspapers, receive them in grocery stores after a purchase, or even print them from websites. Additionally, apps such as iBotta allow you to receive discounts and cash back on your purchases. Finally, when you’re shopping online or even in brick-and-mortar stores, you should always search online for discount codes and rebates online before you head to checkout.
Cut the Fat
If you’re having trouble finding any money to save from week to week, consider cutting back on some of the extraneous expenses you can live without. If you’re not already adjusting your budget due to the impact of COVID-19, now is a great time to start. Pack a lunch or eat in instead of going to restaurants or ordering takeout; preparing your own food alone can save you serious money. There are other painless ways to save money by cutting unnecessary costs out of your budget. For example, you should definitely check out how much you’re paying for automobile or homeowner’s insurance. If you shop around, you may be able to find comparable insurance coverage at a much lower rate. Finally, even if you’ve cut the cord on cable TV already, you can save some money each month by cancelling those streaming services you don’t really use.
Pay Attention to Your Money
Another way to save money painlessly is to pay closer attention to your finances. More often than not, we end up spending too much money because we don’t track our cash inflows and outflows closely enough. For example, if you aren’t monitoring your checking account or credit card balances, those Uber Eats meals every day for lunch while you’re remote working can put a dent in your checking account. Instead of leaving all your saving efforts to chance, you should track your saving and spending activity closely. Monitor your credit card and checking account balance; consider getting a mobile app such as Mint, which makes it easier to monitor all your accounts on the fly. If you watch your money closely, you’ll likely end up saving more of it.
Saving Money Is Easier than You Think
If you think saving money is so hard that you’ve given up trying, perhaps it’s time for a new approach. With a little bit of time and effort, you can build up your savings in no time. If the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has had you on edge for the past year, painlessly saving money may provide you the peace of mind you need to have a great 2021.