You can fool yourself into growing your savings accounts this year.
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to save money in 2017? You’re not alone. “Save more, spend less” and “pay down debt” are two of the top New Year’s resolutions in 2017, according to a study from GOBankingRates.
Making a New Year’s resolution is a lot easier said than done. While the goal is still new, and the year is stretched out before you like freshly fallen snow, take steps now to ensure that you achieve your resolutions later. Keep reading for tips to trick yo
urself into saving more money this year.
Automate your saving. Before you start saving, it’s helpful to track your spending. There are many budgeting tools and apps available that are free to join. Once you link the tool to your bank accounts, it will start monitoring your purchases and automatically assigning them to categories. You can take a hard look at how much you spend at restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores or on utilities and see where cutting back might be needed. These tools and apps will also make recommendations for how much to budget in each category, which you can adjust manually as needed.
Another useful feature of these tools is the ability to set up goals. If you have an amount you want to save this year, whether it’s for an emergency fund, a vacation or a new car, putting your goal in writing is a big first step.
Once you have a goal, it can still be easy to put off saving when other unexpected costs arise. Instead of making the choice to put away money each month, automate your deposits. You can work through your employer to get fixed amounts from your paycheck transferred to savings accounts. You can also set up transfers from your bank accounts to retirement or other savings accounts. Automating this process means that you don’t need to think about it again – that is, until you log in and see how much has accumulated.
Join a cash-back and coupon website. If you’ve ever gone through the checkout process, only to remember five minutes too late that you had a coupon, this tip is for you. Coupon and cash-back websites are free to join, and some even offer convenient browser extensions that tell you how much cash back you can earn on a retailer’s website, or whether there is a coupon code or sale available. This is an easy way to make sure that you’re not missing out on savings when you do your everyday online shopping.
Save your loose change. This tip might seem too easy, or like it can’t make that big of a difference to your savings, but you might be surprised by how much loose change you can collect in a year. If you need some motivation to add change to the jar, start up a competition with family members or co-workers on who can collect the most by the end of the year.
Look into employer discount programs. There’s a possibility that you’re already eligible to save money, and you don’t even know it. If you work for a large company, you may have access to employee discounts or “corporate perks.” Such rewards include fitness memberships, public transportation benefits and daycare centers. If you work for a smaller company with smaller-scale benefits, you still might be eligible for fitness membership reimbursement through your health insurance – perhaps helping to achieve another New Year’s resolution.
Call and ask for reduced bills. Another chance for saving big money this year can be as easy as a phone call. If you think your cable, internet or phone bills are too high, try calling your provider and asking for a lower bill. The retention team will often be able to offer you a discount, especially if they think you might leave to get a better price at a competitor. You can also give your credit card company a call and ask for a lower interest rate – the better credit score and track record you have with the company, the more chance you have at achieving this.
There you have it: five easy ways to save money in 2017. Try one (or all) of these ideas and start watching your savings account grow.
Originally published by U.S. News & World Reports on January 5, 2017