Building up savings can be difficult, but the hardest part is often sorting through all the advice out there about the best way to do it.
Some say you should pinch pennies on absolutely everything and live off lentils and rice, while others think investing is the smart choice for long-term financial stability.
For most, the solution will reside somewhere in between the two. Here are 6 simple ways to save a few bucks every day.
1. Track Your Change
Keeping careful track of your change may sound silly and childish, but it can actually be extremely effective in the right circumstances.
If you end up using cash for a lot of small day-to-day purchases, then you could be looking at multiple dollars each day in extra change.
Keep track of that change, instead of letting it collect in the sofa. You might be surprised to find this change can afford a meal or two by the end of the week.
One of the best ways to keep track of your change is to bring back the piggy bank. Many are fond of the nostalgia and quirkiness of this route, and coins can be collected in a jar or bag just the same.
When it does come time to convert the coins into cash or credit, try to avoid those coin-counting machines that you see at stores. These machines are known to take a hefty cut that can be as much as 10% of the total.
Instead, try using a bank or credit union, who will often let you convert the coins at no cost.
2. Utilize Apps
Apps can be one of the easiest and most convenient ways to cut down on your spending.
Gone are the days of needing to fill out entries in a log to track your spending. Now, you can set a budget, punch in a couple numbers on your phone and see exactly how much you have left to spend for a given time period on a given category.
If you want to start small, you can do things like track how much you spend on coffee or lunch breaks. It doesn’t mean you have to cut the tasty scone out of your morning routine if you’re a dollar over budget. But it can be a simple and convenient way to see how much these daily expenses are adding up.
Knowing how all the pieces of your budget work together can make it a lot easier to plan where your paycheck goes.
Comparing your spending habits over the past several months is a task made much easier by today’s technology but would have required hours of manual calculations and receipt hunting in the past.
Read also: 7 Apps That Would Help You Reach Your Financial Goals
3. Meal Prep
Preparing meals ahead of time may sound tedious, but you don’t need to start out with the extreme version. There are simple ways to plan ahead that can save you time and help you cut costs later in the week.
All you really need to do is make more than you need for dinner, divide the leftovers into a couple containers with the right proportions, and make sure that it will hold up to taste and quality when reheated.
If you made a big pasta dinner, consider packing a small portion of the tomato sauce separately and combining when it’s time to finally eat.
Read also: 6 Insanely Easy Ways to Save Money Around The House
4. Seek Out Discounts
Getting the most out of coupons and discounts is another easy way to save a few bucks. The cool thing about coupons is that the savings you get out is usually based on the effort and time you put in.
The most extreme discount shoppers and coupon clippers have even been known to get things for free. If you just want to save a few bucks here and there, start with a quick google search or a visit to the store’s website for special offers before going shopping.
5. Use Cash
One of the big problems with using cards is that you can accidentally overspend without even realizing.
You may not necessarily go over your limit your drain your account, but it’s easy to go over your nightly budget, especially if it is a big night out.
One of the easiest ways to get around this is to rely on cash and not credit when it comes to entertainment or other non-critical expenses.
With cash, you can easily keep track of how much you are spending, and to stick with the budget you set for yourself.
6. Use Installment Loans in Emergencies
If something does go wrong and an unexpected emergency pops up, then a loan is one short-term payment option you may want to consider.
If you find yourself in a short-term financial pinch but don’t have the savings on hand to cover the expense, personal installment loans could be an option.
These loans do tend to have higher interest rates, but they can get you the emergency money you need to take care of life’s unexpected problems right away, before they take a long-term toll on your financial health. Another good option, if you’d rather look into secured lending options, is a car title loan.
The Bottom Line
There are many different strategies you can use to save a bit of extra cash from each payday. Instead of trying to stick to one tip, try to see which one fits better with your lifestyle. You may find that mixing and matching all of these tips will soon become part of your lifestyle instead of a chore.