10 Little Things You Can Do That Will Help You Save More Money Every Day

No matter how you look at it, many Americans are terrible at saving money. Forty percent of people surveyed by Bankrate save 5% or less of their income, including 19% who save absolutely nothing.

High expenses are partly to blame, according to the survey. Jobs that don’t pay enough, debt, and sheer procrastination are other obstacles.

Whatever the reason for your skimpy savings account, there are things you can do to turn it around. Sure, significantly increasing your income (or drastically reducing your expenses) is the quickest path to increasing your savings. But you can also make small, virtually painless changes that will help you save more and spend less.

1. Cut one vice

Powerball lottery tickets
Powerball lottery tickets. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Is buying a scratch-off ticket part of your daily routine? Are you addicted to diet Coke? Can’t stop hitting the vending machine at work to cure your mid-afternoon munchies? Americans spend nearly $3,000 a year on financial vices like takeout food and lottery tickets, according to Bankrate. Try cutting one of these small, unnecessary expenses from your budget and save that money instead.

2. Unsubscribe from promo emails

The next time a promo email advertising a 50% off sale lands in your email inbox, click “unsubscribe.” Those messages promise savings, but they also entice you to spend. Avoid the temptation by removing yourself from store mailing lists.

3. Get cash back

Download a cash back or rewards app like ShopKick, iBotta, and Ebates that will pay you to shop. Usually, you’ll get rewards for shopping through a certain website or for submitting receipts. Just be careful not to let the promise of savings trick you into spending more than you intend. Frugal for Less has rounded up some of the best cash back shopping apps here.

4. Use Trim to cancel unwanted subscriptions

Monthly subscription services are all the rage these days, but if you’re not careful, they can drain your bank account. Trim will comb through your account transactions and find recurring charges. If you’re still paying for a service you don’t use, like Netflix or your gym membership, you can tell Trim to cancel it for you.

5. Get a library card

If you’re not using your public library, you’re missing out. Yes, you can still head to the library to check out the latest bestsellers rather than buying them on Amazon. But most public libraries let you check out ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines as well. Most have DVDs you can borrow. Some offer free classes, job-hunting resources, and even tools for rent or seed libraries.

6. Try the 24-hour rule

If impulse purchases trip you up, try this trick: The next time you’re tempted to buy something you don’t need, wait 24 hours. If you still really want the item a day later, consider purchasing it (but only if you can afford it!). But chances are, you’ll have forgotten about it entirely.

7. Check your tire pressure

Driving around on improperly inflated tires could be costing you as much as $65 a year in extra fuel costs, according to RightPSI. You can check your tire pressure yourself using an inexpensive gauge or head to a tire shop like Goodyear or Discount Tire, where they’ll do the check for free.

8. Embrace store brands

If you tend to buy name-brand products, try switching to cheaper store brand products. You may not notice a difference in quality, but you will notice a difference in price. Store brands are usually 15% to 30% cheaper than their name-brand counterparts, according to Consumer Reports.

9. Save your spare change, virtually

woman hand putting coin into piggy bank
Piggy bank | dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Back when cash was king, many people saved by tossing their spare change in a piggy back. Now, a range of apps let you do the same thing, only digitally. Acorns, Qapital, Chime, Digit, and other apps transfer small amounts of money – digital “spare change” from your bank account to savings or investment accounts. One app, Qoins, even uses your savings to pay off debt. If you don’t have much money to save, these apps can be an easy way to get started.

10. Pay yourself first

Successful savers tend to follow one simple rule: They pay themselves first. Before you pay your bills or head to the grocery store on payday, set aside some of your earnings for yourself. (An automatic transfer to your savings account makes it easy and painless.) If your budget is tight, this amount might be small – just a few dollars from every paycheck. But even small amounts add up and get you in savings habit.

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