How to Save Money: 33 Tips to Start Saving | Capital One (2024)

January 26, 2023 |10 min read

    Wherever you are on your financial journey, you should probably keep in mind how important savings can be. For starters, having a savings account can give you extra peace of mind. It can also give you the flexibility to do things like making major purchases and taking dream vacations.

    The good news is saving money is a skill you may be able to improve with knowledge and experience. So check out these money saving tips for boosting your savings and reaching your financial goals.

    Key takeaways

    • From minor tweaks to major savings strategies, there are lots of ways to save.
    • Creating a budget can be a good first step when making a savings plan.
    • Making intentional choices and watching your expenses can help you reach your savings goals.

    Readjust your budget to save money

    Before you cut your spending, you may first want to create a budget for a wide-angle view of your financial situation. Here are some budgeting tips that could help you get started:

    • Try the 50/20/30 budget approach. Consider an established budgeting strategy like the 50/20/30 approach to balance your expenditures and savings. With this technique, your income is split into three buckets: 50% goes toward necessities, 20% toward savings and 30% toward wants.
    • Make a plan to pay off debt. When you’re trying to save money, you’ll want to take your debts into account—especially those with higher interest rates. Consider different approaches like the debt snowball method and the avalanche method to see which best fits your situation.
    • Consider envelope budgeting. With the envelope budgeting system—or “cash stuffing”—cash from each paycheck is separated into envelopes assigned to specific bills. Envelope budgeting can also be digitized for those who don’t want to carry physical cash.
    • Download a budgeting app. Budgeting apps can help you track your spending habits and make decisions about how to spend and save your hard-earned money. There are even ways to use your credit card to help you budget.

    Save money by making habitual changes

    Sometimes switching your mindset can help you further your savings goals—without drastically cutting down on spending money. Here are money saving tips to consider:

    • Look for discounts. Before making purchases, try to get into the habit of looking for coupons or discounts to avoid paying full price. You may be able to find discounts online, in magazines or through special sales and events. You could also add an extension to your browser like Capital One Shopping.It’s a free tool for helping you find the best deals while you’re shopping online.
    • Switch to generic brands. It can be tempting to reach for brands you’re familiar with when shopping. But you can save money by switching to generic brands instead since they tend to cost less than their name-brand counterparts.
    • Unsubscribe from emails. Ever signed up for an email list in exchange for savings on an item you wanted? It can be a quick and easy way to get a discount. But if the emails keep coming and lead to spontaneous purchases, you may want to unsubscribe.
    • Keep the 30-day rule in mind. Before making a nonessential purchase, hold off for 30 days and put the money you would’ve spent in your savings account. If you still want it after the 30 days, you can revisit the purchase. If you don’t want it, you’ll have maintained your savings.
    • Contribute to your savings account automatically. You may want to regularly contribute to a dedicated savings account or emergency fund through a direct deposit program. This gives you the ability to pay yourself first before making other purchases.

    Saving money on food and drink

    Wondering how to save money on groceries? Or looking to reduce how often you dine out? Here are money saving tips and strategies to help:

    • Pack your lunch. While convenient, eating out can add up—even if it’s only a few times a week. Try packing a lunch the night before and then put the money you would’ve spent dining out into your savings account. If you work at home, this tip is especially easy to follow. Who needs a lunchbox when you have a full fridge at your disposal?
    • Plan out your meals. Before you make a trip to the grocery store, plan a week’s meals around ingredients you already have in your pantry and freezer. This way, you can stick to buying only the essentials.
    • Stick to a shopping list. It can be easy to add unnecessary items to your cart when you’re grocery shopping. That’s why making a shopping list ahead of time can help keep you focused.
    • Give curbside pickup a try. If sticking to a list is too hard, avoid temptation by never setting foot inside the store. Instead, place an order for curbside pickup, which could save you time and prevent impulse buys.
    • Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk from a shopping warehouse could help you save money over time on things like paper products, cleaning supplies and freezable food items. These warehouses often charge a membership fee—consider including the fee in your budget to help you decide if it’s worth it.

    How to save each month on bills

    Saving on utilities and other recurring bills can give you more cash for your savings account. Consider these measures for saving on your electric bill and more:

    • Find ways to lower energy costs. You may be able to cut down on utility bills by making small adjustments in your home. Things like turning your thermostat down a few notches in the winter and switching to energy-efficient light bulbs are minor changes that can add up to savings over time.
    • Cut cable TV. If you’re paying for cable TV, you may be able to save by switching to a streaming service. Plus, you can earn cash back for some of these services by being a Capital One Savor Rewards cardholder.
    • Monitor your subscriptions. Subscription services can be easy to use—and just as easy to forget about. That’s why it can help to revisit the monthly services you’re paying for and find ways to manage your subscriptions.
    • Shop around for cell phone plans. Comparing cell phone plans and providers could help you see if you’re overpaying for your service. You could also cut features you may not be using in your plan, like insurance coverage for your phone.
    • Rethink your gym membership. You can save money by cutting out your gym membership and working out at home instead. Or consider putting a freeze on your membership during months when you can exercise outdoors.

    How to save money on car costs

    A monthly car payment is just one of the costs associated with getting from here to there. Here are money saving tips to help reduce transportation-related expenses:

    • Consider other ways to get around. Depending on your circ*mstances, you might be able to walk, bike or take public transportation—and avoid car ownership altogether. That could mean eliminating expenses like car maintenance and auto insurance from your budget.
    • Compare insurance prices. You may be able to save on the cost of car insurance by getting quotes from different auto insurance carriers. And you could potentially reduce the price of your current policy by making adjustments—like bundling policies or taking a safe driving course.
    • Be mindful of your gas usage. You could save on gas by finding the lowest prices in your area before filling up, looking for the most efficient routes before driving and joining a gas station rewards program.

    How to save money on entertainment

    Just because you’re trying to save money doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. Here’s how to economize while still enjoying your free time:

    • Go to free events. Look for free events in your community to enjoy—everything from parades to art exhibitions to lectures at local universities.
    • Seek out special deals and promotions. Keep up with some of your favorite venues and see if they offer daily specials or promotional events that you can attend at a discounted price.
    • Check out local libraries. Your local library can be a great resource to find low-cost or free entertainment. In addition to loaning out books, some libraries may rent out DVDs or board games. Plus, they may host fun events you can attend in your free time.
    • Opt for a season pass. If you find you wind up at the same venue a lot—a theme park with rides, for example—compare the cost of regular admission to a season pass. It may be worth the upfront fee for a pass so you can save money on admission throughout the year.

    Earn extra money to jump-start savings

    One possible benefit of finding ways to earn extra money: You could add those extra earnings to your savings account. Here are a few money-making ideas:

    • Pick up a side hustle. Leverage your skills to earn extra cash by doing things like freelancing, tutoring or translation work. For a more extensive list of side hustle ideas, check out this guide on how to make extra money.
    • Sell your items. Declutter clothes, housewares or other miscellaneous items taking up space in your home. Then consider selling them on an online marketplace or at a consignment store for extra cash that can go toward savings.

    Other ways to save money

    Here are a few other ways to save money—both now and in the future:

    • Contribute to your retirement. Don’t forget your long-term savings when you’re doing your financial planning. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, you can take advantage of “free” money to put toward retirement.
    • Use a cash-back rewards credit card. If you generally use cash or a debit card for your purchases, you might consider using a cash-back rewards credit card instead. The cash you could earn on your purchases may mean extra money in your pocket. Keep in mind that paying off your card’s balance in full each month could help you avoid interest charges.
    • Don’t forget about your tax refund. Anticipating a tax refund this season? You could add some or all of your refund to your savings account. Learn more about how to file your taxes.
    • Put “unexpected” money into savings. Consider putting money from things like birthday presents and work bonuses into your savings account rather than treating yourself to a purchase with it.
    • Try DIYing gifts. Buying gifts can eat into your budget. But you could still give great gifts at a fraction of the cost by taking a do-it-yourself approach.

    How to save money in a nutshell

    There’s no one way to save. You could start by making small changes, like sticking to a shopping list or adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees. Then you could make bigger moves, like setting up regular contributions to a retirement account.

    Whatever approach you decide to take, being intentional about saving money may help you reach your financial goals more quickly.

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    How to Save Money: 33 Tips to Start Saving | Capital One (2024)
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