10 Easy and (Mostly) Painless Ways to Save Money

Money Saving Tips, Personal Finance
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When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts. Whether the money goes into a rainy day fund or your 401(k), it’s always worth putting a little extra aside.

Here are 10 easy and painless ways to start saving money today.

1. Unsubscribe from retailer emails

If you wake up to an inbox filled with retail sale advertisements that could tempt you to buy things you didn’t know you needed, consider whittling down your subscriptions. There’s usually an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the message.

2. Make it harder to shop online

When you shop regularly at a retailer’s website, it’s convenient to create an online account to save your billing information. But if you force yourself to input your shipping address and credit card number each time you order, you probably will make fewer impulse purchases.

3. Share costs

Consider sharing some of your costs with friends and family. It could be anything from borrowing cleaning equipment to forming a grocery-share group to buy in bulk.

4. Use what you have

Before going to the store, “shop” in your own cupboard to use up what you have. Steve and Annette Economides of MoneySmartFamily.com say they label their food products with the buy dates so they know when the items expire. Use up the oldest ones first.

5. Separate your accounts

Try to keep a daily-use checking account and a savings account. Have your employer direct deposit part of your paycheck into your daily-use account and the rest in savings. It’s harder to spend money that you don’t see.

6. Keep the change

Empty your pockets each day and start collecting that extra change. Then take your collection to the bank and put it directly into your savings account instead of your checking account.

7. Ask for a discount

Before buying at a store or ordering at a restaurant, inquire about discounts or promotions. Many businesses offer deals to students, seniors, members of the military and others.

8. Search for coupons

Cash-back websites and credit card bonus malls are shopping portals where you can earn money back when you order online from many stores, including Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. Search for your favorite store on those portals first. Then log in and click on a link that takes you to your store’s website instead of shopping directly from that company’s website. Complete your shopping to get back a percentage of your qualifying purchases. Also, search online for “[store name] coupon code” to see what discounts are available.

9. Make a budget

Making a budget may seem daunting, but there are plenty of resources to help. Use NerdWallet’s budget calculator to lay out a plan for spending less than you earn. You should aim to spend no more than 50% of your after-tax dollars on necessities and 30% on things you want. The remaining 20% should go toward saving or paying off debt.

10. Check your accounts

Check your financial accounts regularly, either online or through an app. Your bank account balance can serve as a simple reminder of the difference between how much you have and how much you want to save. A little self-motivation can go a long way.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

Updated April 10, 2017.