Saving money is daunting, and it's easy to get discouraged. Maybe it's not that you lack discipline, but that you lack funds. Saving? Uh, save what?
That's a pretty common feeling. A CareerBuilder survey found more than three-quarters of American workers say they're living paycheck to paycheck.
Still, you might be able to save hundreds, maybe even $1,000 — in the next month. You just have to know where to look. Here are six suggestions.
1. Stop paying too much for insurance
Insurance companies are incredibly competitive, meaning there's almost always a lower rate out there for your car or homeowners insurance.
Even if you save just $10 a month by switching policies, that's a start.
Also, make sure you're getting all of the insurance discounts you're entitled to. Do you drive a newer car? Does it have an alarm? Were you in a sorority in college? All of those things can mean savings.
2. Ask for better terms on your debt
If you have credit card debt, student loans or a personal loan, contact your lender to see if it's willing to give you a better deal.
Maybe the credit card company will lower your interest rate to keep your business, or maybe you can consolidate your student loans at a lower rate, with a lower monthly payment.
And, be certain you have the best credit card for your lifestyle. A cash-back card is no good if you're paying more in interest than the money you get back.
3. Cut out the little stuff
For one month, keep track of every dollar you spend. Write it all down. At the end of the month, lump your spending into groups such as gas, groceries and utilities.
Whatever doesn't fit neatly into one of the categories — like those afternoon smoothies that make your wallet skinnier but add to your waistline — might easily be done away with.
4. Use cash more often
When you make all of your purchases electronically, you can easily overspend. But when you touch cash, count it and can visualize just how much you've got left, it's clearer to see your budget dwindling away.
If you try to use cash more often, you're more likely to curb your spending.
5. Adjust your withholding
Lots of people brag about getting thousands of dollars back when they file their taxes, but a mega-refund is a sign you were paying too much to begin with.
You might save hundreds a month that you could put in the bank, earning more interest, simply by making sure your tax withholding is correct.
6. Find your trick
Some people start brown-bagging it to work. Others take all the change they receive in the course of a day and put it in a jar.
Take time to think about new habits you might be able to stick with that will help you save more money.
Calculate how much you need to save each month to reach your savings goal.
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