If you’re looking to save a little money on your monthly expenses, whether you’re just seeking more financial stability or you’re saving up for something special, there are a ton of ways you can get started. Here are some easy ways to get started.

Track Your Spending

One of the best ways to save money is to make sure you know where your money is currently going. For at least a month, keep track of all the money you spend. Everybody leads a different life. Our values and situations vary, and therefore so do the things we spend money on. Because of this, there’s no “right things” you should be spending on. However, tracking where you’re spending your money may help you prioritize where your money is going a little better. You can use an app to do this; we love mvelopes.

Set a Budget

Once you’ve gotten a bit of a handle on where your money goes, it’s time to set a budget to help keep your spending in line. There are several ways you can set up your budget, from savvy cellphone apps (check here to find some of the best budgeting apps of 2018) to computer spreadsheets to a good, old-fashioned paper and pen approach. Here are some tips for setting a budget that you can actually stick to:

  • Be realistic. You’re probably not going to forego eating out altogether, so add a budget line for it.
  • Be willing to sacrifice at least a little. Say no to drinks after work or opt for a movie at home instead of a grand theater experience. Cut costs where you’re willing and able.
  • Be sure you set a budget item for savings. How much you save will depend on your personal goals, but most financial experts recommend between 15% and 20% of your income should be saved.
  • Consider the cash envelope approach if you’re having trouble keeping to your budget.
  • Analyze your spending each month to determine if your budget needs some adjustment.

See if You Can Reduce or Cut Bills

Make sure you’re getting the best rates possible on your services like insurance, cable, internet, and phone services. Oftentimes, just by calling and asking your provider if they can offer a lower rate, you’ll be able to lower your monthly bill. Be sure you call around to different providers to check their rates, as well. Quotes for these services are generally free, so no harm in asking.

If your bills are still higher than you can stand, try to think of a way you can cut services completely. I mean, do you really need cable?

You can save big by being frugal when it comes to your utilities, as well. Turn the temperature down in the winter, up in the summer, and install a thermostat with a timer to keep the temps in your home more reasonable while you’re not there. Doing so could save you more than 10% on your energy bills, and many energy companies will even do it for you.

Avoid Fees for Credit Services

Watch credit card, loan, and mortgage statements for added fees. Opt for loans or cards that charge less fees, if you’re able. Be sure you make payments on time, too. Those late fees are horrendous!

Final Word on Saving Money

Saving money should be a lifelong habit. Follow the above tips to start saving more money today.

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