Saving money can be challenging in any environment, but especially now, at a time when expenses like housing, insurance and grocery costs are on the rise, and many Americans are having trouble balancing their budgets.
However, just because saving money can be hard doesn't mean it's impossible. Whether you're living paycheck to paycheck or are simply looking to save more for specific goals, like taking a big vacation, you can often find ways to keep more money in your bank account.
5 surprising ways to save more money, according to the experts
Here are fiveto consider:
Plan ahead for food costs
With inflation affecting food costs, you might want to be more strategic about your spending in this area. Rather than grabbing whatever you see at the grocery store, one tip is to make a list before you get there and use that as your GPS around the store, says Nia Adams, personal finance educator at Perspectives.
You can also "use free curbside pickup to avoid impulse shopping," she says. This can apply to grocery shopping as well as other types of shopping, like if you need a new phone charger and don't want to be tempted by larger electronics.
Adams also advises setting "a budget before dining out at restaurants." Saving money doesn't have to mean never going out, but having a plan helps.
"When you go to a restaurant, choose your entrees ahead of time so that you don't get tempted by a more expensive meal," adds Dr. Kate Mielitz, Accredited Financial Counselor at Beyond Finance.
Another way to save money is to be more upfront and realistic about what you can afford.
"Be honest with yourself and set expectations with friends and family who might be expecting you to pick up the tab or purchase a gift. Yes, it's hard, and uncomfortable, to say, 'I can't afford it,' but it pays off when you have money in your account at the end of the pay period," says Dr. Mielitz.
Switch it up
Sticking with your current service providers may be convenient, but it could also be costing you money.
"As a personal example, I recently switched telecom services and found it was 30% cheaper, and the plan gave me free cell service for the first year," says Kevin M. Curley, II, CFP, wealth advisor at Global Wealth Advisors.
Even if you got a good deal initially, you might find that new providers have emerged, or rates have changed over time to the point where you'd be better off switching providers, such as for insurance.
"Shopping around for home and auto insurance rates" can be a good way to save money, adds Adams.
To save more, sometimes you need to earn more so that you have more leftover each month to put into a savings account.
"An often-overlooked option to save more money is to make more. Working to improve or build up a skillset can increase an employee's value and the amount of money someone might be willing to pay them," says Curley.
You also might be able to earn more from turning your skills and passions into new income streams.
"Market any specialized skills on social media platforms by broadcasting them to anyone who will listen. You don't have to be an influencer to make money on YouTube, for example. It is possible to reach people who are interested in very niche areas and start making money with only 1,000 subscribers," says Curley.
Reduce investment expenses
When it comes to saving money, you might not think of the fees you're paying within your retirement or brokerage accounts, but these costs can add up. If you want a higher net worth, don't overlook investment expenses.
"Fees are imperative to consider when choosing an investment because they can diminish your investment returns, and with compound interest, can cost you a substantial amount of money over time," says Vincent Grosso, founder at Pascack Capital.
"To save money, investors can look for less expensive fund options. A more expensive fund does not always equate to a superior fund. Evaluating your fund fees can save you money today, and your future self will thank you, as well," he adds.
The bottom line
While saving money can seem hard at first glance, you may be able to cut back in more ways than you assumed by following these financial moves, like conducting service provider comparisons and planning food costs in advance. And if that doesn't work, you might be able to better monetize your skills to leave you with more money to put into your savings account.
As a bonus tip, consider opening aor a that helps you take advantage of . That way, as you save more, you can also earn more.
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