What to do next?

  • A strong financial future starts with a solid financial plan. Check out our simple guide to making yours.
  • A financial professional may talk you through how changes to your financial goals can shift your saving, especially for retirement. Check with your HR department or employer to see if your company’s retirement savings plan offers this service. Or, we can help you find one.

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2. Set Up Your Savings Automatic Transfer

To err is human—and let’s face it, most of us would forget to put money into savings unless we automated the process. (Or we’d simply spend it on something else.) But automatic transfer is divine! In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to help your money grow.

Your to-do: Call the bank where you keep your savings account, or log on online, and set up a bi-weekly automatic transfer from your checking account today. If you prefer, you can even reach out to your employer and have a portion of your paycheck direct deposited into savings, bypassing your checking account altogether. How much should you sock away? Start with 1%–2% of your income, and set a calendar alert to review in a month. The most important thing is to start the habit. Once you have, the opportunity to watch the balance grow will become an addiction.

Build your savings muscle

What you do today and where you put the money from your salary will determine if you have options. Options can give you freedom. No amount is too small as long as you start.

Think about it this way, when you start an exercise routine you may not start off with 100 sit-ups, perhaps you start with 30 or even 10. The strength and improvement come from doing the exercise consistently. Each time you exercise it becomes a bit easier. Slowly you add a few more sit-ups and you’ll see improvement.

Exercising and saving money are very similar. You may not see instant or drastic results, but slow and consistent actions will lead to an improvement in your physical or financial health.

Home Savings Tips

42. Comparison shop for homeowners insurance. Before renewing your existing homeowners insurance policy each year, check out the rates of competing companies.

43. Refinance your mortgage. Explore if you have the option to refinance your mortgage to a lower interest rate. On a 15-year $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, lowering the rate from 7 percent to 6.5 percent can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan. And, you will accumulate home equity more rapidly, thus increasing your ability to cover those pesky unexpected home repairs.

44. Audit your home energy use. Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit. The audit may reveal inexpensive ways to reduce home heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Keep in mind that a payback period of less than three years, or even five years, usually will save you lots of money in the long-term. For more home energy savings tips, check out this blog post.

45. Weatherproof your home. Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss.

46. Keep the sun out. Keep your blinds or curtains closed during hot summer days. Blocking the sunlight really does help to keep your house cooler.

47. Use less water. Install low-flow shower-heads and faucet aerators to reduce your water usage and water costs.

48. Cut laundry detergent use in half. Many laundry detergents on the market sold today are highly concentrated. Be sure to use the smallest suggested amount. Making laundry detergent is said to be relatively cheap and easy, especially if you prefer to use greener, natural products.

49. Go natural. Speaking of making your laundry detergent, using everyday items you already have around your home to clean works for many. You’d be surprised what you can do with vinegar and lemon!

50. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. For every 10 degree reduction in temperature, you can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.

51. Ditch the paper: Cutting out paper towels and using cloths and napkins that you can simply wash and reuse is a simple way to save.

52. Become a Coupon King or Queen. We all know that couponing can save you lots of dough! Even simply couponing for those essential household staples like toilet paper and cleaning supplies can add up quickly (and so will your stockpile!)

About the Author

Cameron Huddleston is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years of experience writing about personal finance. Her work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, MSN, USA Today and many more print and online publications. She also is the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances . U.S. News & World Report named her one of the top personal finance experts to follow on Twitter, and AOL Daily Finance named her one of the top 20 personal finance influencers to follow on Twitter. She has appeared on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and “Fox & Friends” and has been a guest on ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, NPR, WTOP in Washington, D.C., KGO in San Francisco and other personal finance radio shows nationwide. She also has been interviewed and quoted as an expert in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch and more. She has an MA in economic journalism from American University and BA in journalism and Russian studies from Washington & Lee University.

4. Share Your Money Goal With a Friend

Do you dream of traveling around the world, of owning a home, of finally being free of your student loans? When our dreams are big, we tend not to tell anyone in case we fail—but that may be a big mistake.

Research conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University of California found that people who write down their goals, then give a friend weekly updates on their progress, were 33% more successful in accomplishing what they set out to do. Your to-do: Set your goal and find a buddy, whether that’s a family member, co-worker, or new friend you meet at LearnVest LIVE.

Want to take things high-tech? Create a shared Google Doc or email chain, then set a recurring calendar reminder to update it with your progress every Sunday night.

3. Negotiate Your Bills

If a chunk of your paycheck always goes toward paying down debt from credit cards or other loans, you can try approaching those companies to negotiate better rates. Gather some information, such as your lender’s name, the amount you owe, the interest rate and the minimum payment. Then contact the lender to see if you can potentially get better terms. If you feel nervous, you can write yourself a script and keep it handy.

In the same vein, you can also call your cable and internet provider, car insurance company and phone company and do the same. It never hurts to give your providers a call and see if you can reduce your monthly bill. If they won’t budge, consider other options or competitors. Switching providers might save you each month, which you can then apply to your savings.

6. Stay Focused on the Long-Term

Learning how to save money when you live paycheck to paycheck can be a process. It takes time and effort. Give yourself some grace and keep your eyes on the long-term prize.

As you develop a plan, watch your budget and stay focused — seeing yourself make progress toward building up savings can be incredibly encouraging and motivating. It’s not always quick and easy, and there will be ups and downs, but sticking to your plan and seeing your savings add up over time can make a real difference to your financial health.

If you think you could use a guiding hand in creating a plan to move past living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to consult with a financial representative. These knowledgeable professionals can provide individualized insight and help you chart your progress toward personal goals.

Tips for Saving Money

If you need to save more money than you can easily pry out of your paycheck, here are a few ideas that financial planners often suggest to consumers.

1. Manage Your Spending

People often find they’re frittering away funds on things they don’t need and could easily live without. Record every penny you spend for a certain period of time, whether that's a week or a month. You can use a notebook or an expense-tracking app, such as Clarity Money or Wally.

Some apps even save for you. For example, the Acorns app links to your payment card, rounding up your purchases to the next dollar, and moving the difference into an investment account.

2. Consider Cash Back

As long as you buy things you truly need, it may make sense to sign up for apps such as Ibotta or Rakuten. Apps like these offer cash back from retailers on groceries, clothing, beauty supplies, and other items.

You can also use a cash rewards credit card, which offers 1% to 6% in cash on each transaction. For instance, the Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash rewards on categories that change periodically. This tactic only works if you transfer your savings to a savings account and always pay your credit card bill in full every month.

3. Focus on Major Expenses

Clipping coupons is fine, but you’ll save much more money by paring back on the biggest bills in your life. For most of us, that’s things like housing, insurance, and commuting costs. If you have a mortgage, could you save by refinancing it at a lower rate? Could you shop around for lower premiums or bundle all your policies with one carrier for a discount? If you drive to work, is there a cheaper alternative, such as carpooling or working from home once a week?

4. Don’t Go Crazy

You might want to dine out less often, try to get a few more wearings out of your wardrobe, or drive the old car for another year. But unless you enjoy living like a miser—and some people actually do—don’t deny yourself every last pleasure in life. The point of saving money is to build toward a financially secure future—not to make yourself miserable in the here and now.

How Can I Put More Money in Savings?

Here’s the thing—you can do all of this stuff we’ve talked about, but if you don’t actually have a plan for your money, then you won’t get very far. And lucky for you, we know just the plan. Ramsey+ will give you all the tools you need to save more from your paycheck each month, pay off debt, and start living the kind of life you want. You’ll get access to the premium version of our budgeting app, EveryDollar, and our tried and true course Financial Peace University. With these things at your fingertips, you’ll be able to put more of your paycheck toward your saving goals!

Family and Friends Savings Tips

27. Create a family spending limit on gifts. Discuss placing spending limits on gifts within your family and/or a system where you only purchase one gift for one person over the holidays. Not only will it relieve financial stress for your family, but it allows you to focus on what really matters during special occasions and holidays.

28. Plan gift-giving well in advance. To go alongside spending limits, give yourself time! You’ll ensure that you’re giving the most thoughtful gifts, which usually end up being not as expensive. Besides, it will also give you the opportunity to look for sales.

29. It’s never too soon to start saving for college. The last thing kids need is more “stuff.” Consider asking for donations to the college fund if you have enough clothes, toys, and other needs for your little ones.

30. Don’t buy cheap clothes for cheap’s sake. There are times where it makes most sense to prioritize quality over price when purchasing clothes for the family. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain for older family members if it wears out in less than a year, but could make sense for quickly growing children.

31. Organize a neighborhood swap meet. Here’s how it works: gather your friends and neighbors with kids around the same age and everyone brings gently used clothing, books, and school supplies, toys, etc., and receives a ticket for each item they bring. Each ticket entitles you to one item from the swap meet. If you contribute six books, you can leave with up to six new-to-you books. If you contribute seven items of clothing, you can leave with up to seven new-to-you items of clothing. All leftover items are donated.

32. Designate one day a week a “no spend day.” Reserve one night a week for free family and friends fun. Cook at home, and plan out free activities such as game night, watching a movie, or going to the park.

The Importance of Budgeting

Create a weekly budget meeting with your partner, your family, or even just yourself. In half an hour, you can make sure your paychecks correspond to your bills, track your spending, and give yourself an updated, ongoing look at your financial situation. This greatly reduces the possibility of falling behind on bills or not knowing where your money is going. Put these budget meetings on your calendar so they become habitual.

Creating a budget for your weekly paychecks will not solve all your financial problems overnight, but with three months of this behavior, you’ll have a firm hand on your expenses.

When you get paid every week, budgeting monthly to save money might seem overwhelming or near impossible. But if you create a system to manage your income and expenses, you’ll be able to save money and plan for the future.

Information provided on this site is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute investment or other advice on any financial products. Such information is not, and should not be construed as, an offer or recommendation to partake in or a solicitation of an offer or recommendation to utilize any particular product or strategy.

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