The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that money is one of the top causes of stress for many Americans. One way to help combat that stress is by building your savings—knowing that you have a few months’ expenses set aside in case of an emergency can ease that stress. But, if you’re underemployed, living paycheck to paycheck, or otherwise unable to find the funds in your budget to create an emergency fund or general savings, this goal can become yet another source of stress. In this case, making some money-saving changes to your life and habits might be necessary.
As you start to save, you’ll find experts recommending you save a certain percentage of every bit of income you receive, to “pay yourself first,” so to speak. If you’re starting from a place of relatively little financial security, though, this “advice” can be enough to deter you from saving at all. Don’t let that happen—instead, start saving a little bit at a time. Even a dollar a week will slowly add up to create a more sizeable sum, especially if you’re taking advantage of a high-yield savings account. Save what you can, even if it seems insignificant.
Consider a Capsule Wardrobe
The concept behind a capsule wardrobe is simple: rather than the overflowing closet to which many Americans are accustomed, you have a smaller selection of versatile pieces that you enjoy wearing. For example, a classic white blouse can pair with jeans, black trousers, a skirt, and so much more! Focus on purchasing only clothing items that can do more and you won’t find yourself purchasing more than you need. Not only will you save money that you would have spent on shopping but you might even be able to get a tax deduction for donating the excess from your closet cleanout—giving you another chance to bulk up your savings.
Take Advantage of the Unexpected
Did you get a boost to your tax return thanks to those clothing donations? Did your Christmas bonus come through at work? If money comes to you unexpectedly—meaning you aren’t depending on it for essentials like food or bills—try to put a significant portion if not all of those funds toward your savings. Because you weren’t anticipating it, you will hardly miss having that money in your wallet.
Food is a must-have budget item—you can’t avoid needing to eat. Fortunately, there are quite a few different ways you can cut back on the costs of cooking. Meal planning can be a great starting point, particularly if done carefully. Be sure to use any ingredients you have on hand, and look through any coupons or sales flyers for your local stores to take advantage of the best deals. In most cases, you can opt for the generic version of food without sacrificing taste, too.
Save On Healthcare
Healthcare costs add up quickly, especially if you have to take prescription medications. One way to help alleviate this strain is to make sure you’re getting the lowest price and opting for generic drugs when possible. A cheap prescription app like USArx can help you get the best deal by simply entering the drug name you’re looking for. You can even include your zip code to find the best price at your local pharmacy or at pharmacy chains with which you’re already familiar. Even if the app saves you a few pennies, the savings will add up over time.
DIY When Possible
It’s not always possible to DIY a project—if your car breaks down and you don’t even know how to change a tire, for example, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself. But if you want a manicure, a do-it-yourself beauty session can make that happen while saving you money. With the internet’s wealth of knowledge at your disposal, you can learn skills from basic plumbing to creating customized household cleaners. Consider whether a task needs a professional or if you can save a few dollars by doing it yourself.
While these simple steps won’t instantly build your savings account, each change you implement will get you a little closer to your money-saving goals—one penny at a time.