Whether your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, save more money, or just to cut your spending in general, there are a million and 1 money saving hacks out there to help you. I’ve broken it down to six easy money saving hacks that you can do in the new year to help achieve your goal!
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do you afford to travel so much?” You’d be surprised how little you have to do to start accumulating these funds.
1. AUTO-WITHDRAWAL / AUTO-TRANSFER
If you stop reading after this section, you’ll already be in great shape. Auto-withdrawal is the number one money saving hack I have.
Step 1: Open a separate bank account. I use online accounts like Sofi and Yotta with organizational tools called “vaults” to keep money in separate folders.
Step 2: Set up a recurring automatic transfer between your two bank accounts to occur on the day your paycheck comes in. (I started with $50 per paycheck, and have worked my way up to $150 bi-weekly.)
Step 3: Watch your new account balance grow!
ProTip: Opt out of paper statements. The less you think about this account, the better!
When the money is taken out of your checking account before you can even see it or acknowledge it, you don’t even think about it. Before you know it, you’ll have more than enough saved up for your travels. And by keeping it in a separate bank account, it’s not as easy to pull money out of it for everyday spending as it is with a typical savings account. Starting with as little as $50 a paycheck ($25 a week / or one night out to dinner) adds up to $100 a month, or $1200 a year! Increase that auto-withdrawal amount as necessary and you’ll be golden.
2. CREDIT CARD REWARDS
Spend a couple minutes looking around at NerdWallet.com articles to get the latest intel on credit cards but I can tell you one thing for sure, find one with rewards and travel benefits!
When I was in the market for a credit card years ago, I did a lot of research and settled on getting a Capital One Venture Card. This card gives you 2 points for every $1 that you spend on ANYTHING.
And unlike other travel cards, this one doesn’t require you to purchase your rewards through them. Capital One instead offers a reimbursement feature, where you can go into your statement online and apply the points to previous “travel” purchases. This includes, airfare, hotels, Airbnb, rental cars, etc.
Since then, I opened up a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and have upleveled my track hacking skills. Chase Ultimate Rewards are one of the most valuable rewards programs so we’ve purchased many flights for free at this point. On top of the sign on bonuses, you can also get a lot of return for your every day spending so the points add up quickly.
The downside to these cards is the relatively high annual fees. Often the benefits outweigh the fee! MOST IMPORTANTLY, paying off your credit card each month is imperative because otherwise the rewards won’t be worth the money you’ll be wasting on interest fees!
3. DIGIT / ACORN / MINT
There are probably a million apps and websites out there for money saving hacks. I personally recommend Digit, Acorn and Mint.
Digit App links with your debit account and watches your spending habits while squirreling away little bits of money at a time into an external account. It will take out no more than the cost of a coffee every day, which you won’t even notice is missing. Before you know it, it’ll have saved up hundreds of dollars of your own money that you can transfer back into your account whenever you’d like!
Digit also has a feature where you can set a specific saving goal by a specific date. So if you’d like to save $500 for spending money for your trip in October, just set the goal and Digit will do the work for you!
Acorns is an app that actually takes your “spare change” from purchases in your account and invests the money. Therefore this little bit of money can increase without any of your own effort. And it’s basically investing for beginners, so you don’t have to know anything to use it!
Mint is a website designed to help you budget and watch your spending. It links all of your accounts and categorizes your spending so you can easily see what you need to cut down on. Then it helps create a budget for you and yells at you when you’re getting reckless with your spending!
4. COINS / $5 BILLS
Another one of the money saving hacks is good old fashioned coins and paper money. I typically take out $40 a week in cash which gets used for any little spending (ie. coffee, happy hour drinks, dinners with friends, etc.) The trick is to stash away all the change in a container somewhere and let them add up. I keep a collection in my desk at work, in my car and at home, then just consolidate the change when I’m ready to turn it in. I was able to pay for my first GoPro with only money collected from change!
ProTip: Treat yourself to an adorable piggy bank that’ll make you excited to start saving your change!
While you’re collecting the coins, also stash away every $5 bill that you come across. It’s a small enough amount to not feel the hit, but it will add up extremely fast! Simple but useful. When I was waitress, I would constantly come home with cash that I could squirrel away. It’s good to get into the habit of using cash rather than whipping out the debit card all the time.
5. CUT BILLS / EXCESS SPENDING
I think it’s good to do a full life audit at least once a year. Take a look at all the bills and monthly expenses you have and evaluate how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on.
Are you really using your Hulu account? Or do you spend all your time on Netflix? Cancel any subscriptions that you have forgotten about or don’t use. Gym costs also can suck the money right out from under you. Let’s be realistic, if you aren’t going to Planet Fitness at least 3 times a week, cancel it. That is over a $100 a year at minimum you are paying to sit at home and not workout. If you ever feel driven to work out, there are thousands of free workout videos online.
I had a friend recently do the math on how much she spends on nail upkeep a year. I won’t tell you how much, but just know she quit going and realized she can pay for a trip to Mexico with it that money!
ProTip: One bottle of nail polish = 147 coats!! Think about it.
Look at your cable bill and assess what you’re paying for and how much you use it. I was able to call Comcast one time and get them to lower my bill almost $50 a month just by asking! Or maybe it’s time to cut the cable! Tons of people are doing it now and it can save you a decent amount per month.
Cut out the monthly delivery boxes like Birchbox, FabFitFun and StitchFix, those are excessive and unnecessary! Take a look at what kind of things you are purchasing and start being aware of needs versus wants. Also doesn’t hurt to look around at items you already own, that you could possibly sell for money. There are tons of websites now besides just Ebay and Craigslist to sell items and clothing on.
Walk around your house and unplug unnecessary items or consolidate appliances on power strips that can be turned off when not in use. You don’t realize how much electricity you are wasting when you’re not even in the house! Also doesn’t hurt to replace bulbs with more energy efficient ones! Savings are minimal but hey, whatever helps!
Start cooking from home more! Collect some crock pot recipes and you’ll be golden. Eating out is a HUGE expense that people don’t realize they are blowing hundreds of dollars a month on!
Don’t act like you don’t have thousands of recipes pinned on Pinterest just waiting to be cooked!
Cutting down on drinking is also huge. Having a glass a wine a night doesn’t seem like much but the bottles add up over time. And if you’re planning a night out with friends, set a cash limit, and when the cash runs out, you’re done!
And please for the love of god, stop going to Dunkin or Starbucks for a coffee or latte every morning. Such a waste of money.
These are only a few examples of how you can save money in everyday life. Take one Sunday morning and sit down and look through bank and credit card statements, you’ll be surprised at the things that you can save money on!
6. SIDE HUSTLES
If you find that you’ve tried all these money saving hacks and it still isn’t leaving enough room for saving money, you may find that a side hustle or a second job is the answer.
I know many friends who waitress or bartend in their free time to make extra money. You can also pick up odd jobs such as babysitting or dog sitting for some extra cash.
I personally go through Rover.com for a dog sitting side hustle. It’s been just enough to help pay our utilities every month so that that money can go elsewhere!
If you have any creative talents, maybe you can monetize them and sell them on Etsy! Or offer up your skills for small jobs on TaskRabit or Fiverr. Cleaning house, washing cars, mowing lawns, snowplowing.
If you have skills but really just want to fine tune them or learn more, check out Skillshare.com. There are thousands of classes you can take on literally anything you can dream of. And if you sign up through my link, you can get 3-months of Skillshare Premium for just $0.99. I promise it’ll pay off! Check out my previous blog post about Skillshare to learn more!
Rent out a spare bedroom on AirBnb, drive for Uber, deliver food, mystery shop, house sit, etc. There are thousands of ways you can make a little cash on the side. Just take a look at what you can offer and get out there and offer it!
Now whether you are saving for your next big trip like I always am, or saving for a house, car, new TV, whatever, these money saving hacks can help no matter what. Take some time and apply them into your life and you see the difference immediately. So many of us go through life mindlessly throwing cash to the wind and then wondering why we can’t pay our full credit card off each month. 2018 is the year to change that. Let’s do it!
If you have any money saving hacks that you swear by, comment them below! I’d love to read any ideas you have! Until next time…