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24 Ways to Save in 2024

Even if saving isn’t one of your New Year’s resolutions, I think we can all benefit from taking a look at our spending habits. No, I’m not going to tell you to stop buying your $5 caramel macchiato every morning, because if it makes you happy and keeps you going that’s important too. But maybe ask and see if your local coffee shop has a punch card… or frequent flyer miles.

Not all 24 of these ways may work for you, and that’s okay. We all have different values and experiences. But I hope they can at least inspire you and instill a greater sense of financial confidence as we head into 2024.

1. Unsubscribe/cancel your memberships

Understand where your money is going each month. Can you justify all those purchases? Have you even used that streaming service in the past 2 months? And what’s going on with that gym membership? Fitness clubs have their perks, but only if you’re utilizing them. Maybe try working out at home or taking a run around your neighborhood. You can always reconsider joining once you’re ready.

2. Utilize your discounts

Many credit unions offer discounts for fitness centers, local events, and amusement parks just for being a member. In addition, your employer might even have an employee discount program for cell phone providers, automobile purchases, or travel. Poke your supervisor or Human Resources department to see what other benefits they might offer.

3. Review your cable/internet/cell providers

Do your research and find a plan that suits your needs. Maybe you decide you don’t even need cable anymore because you only stream your entertainment. I’d also take into consideration what other services are offered “on the house” or if they have discounts for bundling your purchases.

4. Find budget friendly entertainment

Check out your local library for books, movies, and even video games you want to try out for a week or two. Many areas even have groups on Facebook where you can discuss with your neighbors, find resources, and see what free events are going on in your community. You could also experience some events for free by volunteering!

5. Consider quality

I’m no stranger to the clearance rack. Actually, it’s probably still the first place I look. However, I’ve come to realize that you get what you pay for. I’m okay with paying a bit more for things like clothing, shoes, and appliances if they’re going to last longer and I need to replace them less. Those $10 shoes weren’t even worth the 2 ½ wears I got out of them.

6. Also understand generic is okay

Even though it’s important to consider quality, it’s still okay to buy generic or “off-brand” items. I hate to break it to you, but many “similar” products are made under the same roof and/or include the same exact ingredients but are packaged for different brands. Unless I have a bad reaction to generic, you won’t catch me buying brand name OTC medication.

7. Enroll in auto-pay

Late fees will be a thing of the past when you set up auto-pay. Some businesses may even offer you a discount or lower interest rates when you have your payments scheduled every month. Just make sure you’re keeping enough money in your account to avoid being charged overdraft fees.

8. Consider ATM fees

If you regularly use ATMs to make cash withdrawals, it’s also a good idea to read up on ATM fees. Some financial institutions may refund your ATM fees up to a certain amount each month (depending on your account type), but you can also look into no-fee ATM locations.

9. Set up automatic savings

Maybe you just need to put your money somewhere you will not touch it. You can start by direct depositing a certain amount or percentage to your savings account every paycheck. You can even label the account “DO NOT TOUCH,” if you need the extra reminder.

10. Save your change

If you’re like me and rarely carry cash, a change jar probably isn’t going to do you any good. But there are still options! Check out services like Change Up that automatically round up your debit card purchases and transfer your extra change to a savings account.

11. Upgrade your checking account

Start by comparing your checking account perks. You could be earning more interest each month just by switching to an account that better suits your spending habits. Consider the subscriptions you’re keeping. Accounts like MyMedia could help you earn some cash for your Netflix®, Hulu®, Spotify®, Apple® and Amazon® downloads or purchases every month.

12. Open a certificate

If you want to earn more for less work, consider opening a certificate. Certificates are just a way to increase interest on your money for a fixed period of time. Choose a term that works for you, sit back, and start saving.

13. Find a motivator

It’s a little easier to save when you have a goal in mind. Paint that picture in your head and remind yourself why you need to save. Are you saving for college? Your dream wedding? A vacation getaway? Those all sound like totally legit reasons to me, but all that really matters is what is important to you.  

14. Take advantage of retirement

Maybe you’re looking to save for retirement. Many employers will match up to a certain percent that you’re contributing to your retirement from each paycheck. You can utilize that match to earn more in the long run.

15. Stop buying on impulse

Yes, that means taking time to actually evaluate your purchases. For non-essential items, it’s usually a good rule of thumb to wait 24 hours before buying. Have you tried free store pick-up? Ordering your essentials online and picking up in store or curbside is a good way to stick to the list and avoid any unnecessary purchases.

16. Understand credit card rewards

I like to strategically use my credit cards to earn more rewards. I know I can earn more cash back by using one card at gas stations and another at some department stores. All cards are different though. Research your rewards to see where you could be earning more.

17. Look at savings apps and coupons

On top of credit card rewards, you can find coupons or build cash back right on your smartphone. Looking to save on something specific? Just do a quick Google search and you might find coupon codes for what you need.

18. Pay off your credit cards every month

Credit cards are known to have high interest rates. If possible, try and pay off your credit cards every month. If you’re feeling stuck, try out a debt consolidation calculator to see if consolidating is right for you.

19. Refinance for a lower interest rate

If you’ve been sitting on your loan for a while, you might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate, a fixed rate, or a shorter term. Refinancing isn’t right for everyone, but you can always schedule an appointment to discuss your options.

20. Compare insurance rates

Your insurance provider may have been the best option at the time, but that can easily change. Before renewing your insurance, shop around to see if there are any better rates for your chosen coverage.

21. Repurpose, DIY, or declutter

It’s never too early for spring cleaning. Start by decluttering and sorting the things you don’t need. As long as they’re in good condition, you might be able to sell your used items. If you don’t have the heart to let something go, see if you can repurpose it.

22. Live sustainably

On top of repurposing, take a look at your utility bills. Do you have energy efficient appliances? Is everything working accordingly? No, your toilet should not be running every 5 minutes, and that leaky faucet can end up costing hundreds if it’s left unfixed.

23. Cut a bad habit

New year, new you? You could save money AND prioritize your health just by cutting a bad habit. You don’t have to do it all at once either. Little by little, start cutting down on those energy drinks, fast food orders, and shopping sprees.

24. Look into free financial education

I hope the prior 23 ways helped inspire your plans to save this year, but if you’re still looking for a little extra financial guidance, I’d recommend checking out our free Financial Education program through the Greater Green Bay YMCA and the YMCA of the Fox Cities. If you can’t make it to an in-person class, we also offer online resources to help you develop the skills you need to form healthy money habits, improve your financial wellness and make financial decisions that are best for you.

As 20-something year old, I know it’s financially tough out here, but we got this. Together we’ll keep learning, growing, and finding new ways to save on our journey toward financial wellbeing. Enjoy your New Year and stride into 2024 with confidence!

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