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31 Days of Savings Tips

Want to jump-start your savings? We’re here to help. Throughout October, Benchmark FCU shared a savings tip, per day, on our social media aimed at helping our members and the community jump-start their savings goals. That’s 31 savings tips (listed below)! Whether you want to replenish savings that have taken a hit during the pandemic, start saving for holiday shopping, or you simply want to build that all-important emergency fund, we believe that these 31 tips can help you reevaluate your spending habits, cut out unnecessary spending, and focus on saving. Good luck!

  1. Get into the habit of turning things off and unplugging today…electrically speaking that is. Turning lights off and unplugging appliances such as small kitchen appliances, chargers, and computers can help save on electricity and this can mean a lower monthly bill.
  2. Plan for a spend free weekend. Arrange for some free fun this coming weekend. Whether it’s a family hike in a state park, a bike ride, fishing, or a picnic, concentrate on having fun without spending money. Do some advance research for free activities in your community. Put the money you would have spent into a savings account.
  3. Commit to buying generic or store brands at the grocery store this month. This can save you big bucks when grocery shopping. Plan some extra time on your next trip to the market to look for the cheaper store brand or generic option for items on your list. Also, never shop without a list.
  4. Pledge a 31-day hiatus from clothes shopping. Don’t be lured by those “big sale” emails and texts you get from your favorite stores. Your account balance will reflect your spending self-control.
  5. Sell items you’re no longer using. Your unused items can add some ka-ching to your savings. Many of us have good-as-new items lying around untouched, from fitness equipment to the latest kitchen gadgets. Have a yard sale or sell your wares through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, or thredUp and deposit all of your earnings into your account.
  6. Maximize your employer 401(k) match. This is a great way to build your retirement savings. An employer’s match is basically free money that you should always take advantage of.
  7. Skip your pricey trip to the grocery store this week and focus on using items that you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer to make your meals for the week. This doesn’t mean you can’t grab yourself some fresh milk, but focus on making your meals from what you already have in the house. Recipe sites such as fridgetotable.com enable you to type in a particular ingredient and get pages of recipe ideas.
  8. Audit your video streaming subscriptions today. If you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus, are you really watching all of them? Probably not, so choose one or two and cancel those you aren’t using.
  9. Do the same with your music streaming subscriptions today. If you don’t use it then lose it! If you have several on auto-pay, you probably haven’t even noticed how much money you are wasting, and could be saving if you canceled those subscriptions.
  10. Sharing subscriptions with friends or family? If you are paying extra to have multiple users on your streaming account for friends or family members, there’s nothing wrong with asking them to chip in their fair share. If you’re sharing several services, have them cover the cost of one and you the other. Whatever works best and saves you money.
  11. Evaluate all other subscriptions and memberships today. This might include gym memberships, fitness apps, box subscriptions, and others. What aren’t you using? Trim the fat from your budget and cancel that membership.
  12. Invest in a refillable water bottle today. You’ll save a bundle on purchasing water.
  13. Cut the cord today. If you’re not using your cable TV or your landline, consider canceling your service. Can’t do without cable? Look into streaming services like Youtube TV or Hulu with Live TV? These services cost less than $60 monthly and all you need is an internet connection. Often times this setup provides a pretty significant cost savings compared to traditional cable/internet bundles. Want to save extra long term? Buy your own router/modem combo and avoid rental fees from your internet company.
  14. Take a one-week break from dining out starting today. Prepare all of your meals at home this week and brown bag it for lunch.
  15. Today is the day to automate your savings. If you’ve followed our tips for the first two weeks, you may already be seeing your savings build up, so now it’s time to move that extra cash on hand to your savings account. The best way to do this is by direct depositing a portion of each of your pays into some type of savings account.
  16. Sign up for a cashback app or two. Cashback apps and websites return a percentage of the money you spend back to you. Some will offer a straight cash refund to you, while others offer retail gift cards or other items. Some popular cashback apps include Rakuten, Wikibuy, Honey, Dosh, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Checkout 51.
  17. Plan in advance for your next shopping trip and take advantage of coupon sites to proactively save. Sites such as Swagbucks enable you to print out coupons for grocery stores, drug stores, clothing stores, and more. In addition, you have a cashback option when shopping online.
  18. Have a dog? Try baking your own dog biscuits rather than purchasing their treats.
  19. Skip the expensive mani/pedi this month and do it yourself. How much did that save you? A bundle we’re sure.
  20. Learn the value of your local library today. They’re not only great places for borrowing books but also CDs and DVDs; as well as reading local and national publications for free.
  21. Plan a week’s meals out in advance before shopping and don’t deviate from your menus. Base your meal plan on coupons and store specials to save even more.
  22. Consider taking on some side work. Just something to help you make a little extra money. It can be any number of things from yard work or babysitting to dog walking.
  23. Make a plan to negotiate your bills where possible. Try to negotiate down on homeowners and auto insurance or shop around to compare prices. Work on negotiating other bills as well.
  24. Eliminate your daily coffee run from your budget for a month. Make your morning coffee at home.
  25. Pay down your credit card balances. If you’re following our tips, you should be seeing the savings add up. Proactively pay down those credit card balances today to save on interest. You don’t need to wait for your monthly statement to make a payment.
  26. Audit your cell phone service. Do you have more minutes or data than you are using? Try to scale back on your plan to save.
  27. Have a lot of extra books, DVDs, and games laying around? Have a swap meet with friends or neighbors. Once it’s over, it will be like having brand new items to enjoy. Best of all, it’s free!
  28. Do some preventative maintenance on your appliances today. Clean air filters and vents and clear away all dust. The more you take care of things, the longer they will last.
  29. Have a lot of high-interest debt payments you’re managing? Consider a balance transfer credit card. Benchmark Federal Credit Union can help.
  30. Collect the spare change lying around your house & vehicle as well as your daily change from cash purchases & put it in a jar. At month-end, count your savings & deposit into your account.  Also, you can place a jar near the washing machine & check all pockets before washing…any loose change? Or maybe even dollars found can be placed in the jar for a month to save.
  31. Now that you’ve changed your habits and started to build your savings, get a budgeting app that helps you stick to your goals. Mint is a great app for being aware of and tracking your spending. Or you can use one of Benchmark’s financial calculators for help with budgeting and saving.

Set future savings goals

Feel good? Now it’s time to map out your future financial goals. By focusing on saving and changing your spending habits, you’re better prepared to look to the future and set specific savings goals. Take some time to list your goals and stick to the great savings habits you’ve developed over the past month. Tap here to learn more about the great savings account options available at Benchmark Federal Credit Union.

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