Many people’s budgets are being squeezed by inflation. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices are rising across the board, including gasoline (up over 20% over the past year), food (up more than 11%), and new cars (up more than 9%).
That means finding creative ways to save money can be necessary. We spoke with people in their 20s and 30s who are managing their finances and saving money without being miserable. These are their strategies for cutting expenses and saving money.
1. Create financial guidelines.
Javon Pratt, 33, of Utica, New York, made the decision never to part with a $5 bill. Every time he receives one, he stores it in a drawer. He places the money into an investing account or a savings account that pays interest a couple times a year so that it can grow. Pratt had almost $2,000 after less than a year. It’s not enough to make you miss the money, but it’s enough that it adds up, the man claims.
Mark Setlock, a 20-year-old social media influencer from Detroit, uses a distinct paper play.
Every time I work odd jobs or side gigs and receive cash payment, he says, “I split it in half between 2 wallets.” He uses the money in the first wallet whenever he pleases, while the second wallet is for savings. I save so much money without even recognizing it, he claims. “It would sting if I had to deliberately withdraw that much from my bank account at the end of every month to put toward savings.”
2. Order your spending and savings objectives.
Thomas Kopelman, 26, of Indianapolis, thinks that putting things into perspective involves taking an honest look at what you spend your money on. In order to reduce his monthly spending, Kopelman arranged his expenses in decreasing order of importance, starting with necessities like housing, gas, and cat food. Then, he advises, “look at the items at the bottom of your list—things that cutting them wouldn’t change your life from.” “Remove the bottom three to five things. They might have left with barely a trace.”
Consider cutting a few streaming subscriptions ($250 annually), a rarely used gym membership ($250 annually), and fast-food lunches ($1,000 annually if you spend $20 per week). You could save roughly $1,500 a year, which you could use to pay off debt or start an emergency fund.
Set priorities when saving money. Stephanie Kibler, a 35-year-old parent from the Washington, DC, region, sets her savings objectives with the most pressing one at the top—currently, closing expenses for a home purchase. She also wants to save for a future trip and braces for her children.
I usually make a little progress on each goal because I establish a minimum payment that I make each month, according to Kibler. She keeps track of the money in a spreadsheet and treats the minimum savings payments like any other monthly expense. She spends extra money on the top objective to get there more quickly. (Tip: If you already have a Fidelity account, you can start using Fidelity Goal BoosterSM to track and contribute to your objectives.)
3. Repeat your rituals
You might be able to concentrate your expenditure by changing your routines. For instance, Elijah Langille, 30, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has saved hundreds by forgoing trips to the grocery shop in favor of curbside pickup. While curbside pickup costs $2, he was spending more on impulsive purchases at the store. Eliminating impulse purchases would save you an extra $1,000 a year if you typically spend $20 on them at the store each week.
It can be beneficial to reconsider your household routines. Pratheeba Paneer, a 36-year-old family finance blogger, lives in Dallas, where electricity is nearly twice as expensive in the morning, late afternoon, and evening than it is at other times. She estimates that by not using her dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer then, she saves roughly $100 a month. To see if there are any periods of the day when your electricity provider charges more, visit their website. Find other strategies to reduce your gas and energy costs after that.
4. Try DIY
Was something damaged? What you can fix on your own with internet lessons may astound you. DIYing for basic problems can save you a lot of money, even if you employ a professional for riskier or more sophisticated tasks.
Although Langille claims to be unhandy, he can work on plumbing, car repairs, woodworking, and other projects with the aid of online tutorials and vintage tools he acquires at yard sales. He says, “You learn as you go, and yes, you make mistakes. But even something as simple as changing his own car’s oil can result in a $50 per time save.
Similar to how Setlock became his own chef and butcher, He explains, “I love steak, but I don’t love spending the money on steaks from restaurants. Instead, he learnt to make his own by watching web videos. He now purchases meat in quantity from a nearby butcher, chops it himself, and freezes it. Setlock enjoys a steak supper at home for roughly $4 per steak rather than spending $30 or more at a restaurant.
5. Consider all of your options.
If you change up your social life, you could be able to save hundreds of dollars a month if your usual hangout is grabbing food or drinks or going to the movies.
Keira Paget, 26, of Providence, Rhode Island, claims, “I used to throw down my credit card every Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday breakfast.”
Paget ran up $20,000 in credit card debt as a result of costly drinks, rideshares, late-night food, and tipsy cost-sharing pledges — “you say you’re going to split the bill, and no one ever pays you back” — She realized that something had to alter. Since then, she has stopped drinking and reduced her night outings. She now feels better and is able to save $300 each week, which she is utilizing to reduce her debt. Just take advantage of happy hour specials by going out once a week, she advises.
Setlock didn’t want to substitute staying in and watching TV for date nights with his partner. I discovered that it’s possible to do interesting, exciting, and novel things on a budget, he claims. One activity is holding an art competition while purchasing low-cost canvases, lipstick, eyeliner, and eyeshadow. They added a unique, memorable twist to their customary night in for a few dollars.