37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today

by Nora Dunn on 25 July 2011 11 comments
Photo: urbancow

Making changes to your savings plan is about so much more than deciding where to save your money and how much to put away. You can save money by not spending it (yet not losing out or making undue sacrifices), by spending wisely, by becoming more aware of where your money goes, and even by making more money.

Here are 37 ways you can make positive changes and save money — today. (See also: 25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today)

Changing the Mechanics of Saving

1. Apply your latest raise entirely to your savings. You (hopefully!) managed to get by before you got the raise, so take the after-tax increase in your pay and sock it away.

2. Join company savings plans. Some allow you to save money from your gross pay before tax is deducted (allowing you to effectively save more money without feeling the pinch), and other company plans offer matching benefits. Always save the maximum amount you can that is subject to matching grants; it’s like free money.

3. Review your asset allocation plan to ensure your savings are all going to the places you need — and want — them to go.

4. Set up an automatic savings plan.

5. Reevaluate your savings objectives (Why are you saving? When will you need the money?) to ensure you’re on track to reach your goals. Tweak as necessary.

6. If you have a variable or unpredictable income, employ a savings technique that works with it.

7. Move excess funds in your bank account to a high-interest savings account. This earns your money a more respectable amount of interest and also helps with discipline against impulsive withdrawals or debit card spending.

Save Money Around the House

8. Reduce your power bills.

9. Rekindle the art of reusing stuff.

10. Conserve water.

11. Use your oven efficiently.

12. Employ money-saving household cleaning hacks.

13. Use multi-purpose household items instead of specialty products. Stock up on vinegar, mouthwash, powdered milk, and toothpaste for starters.

14. Saving money by making more (with creative recycling techniques, for example).

15. Renegotiate your bills and services, including phone, cable, internet, and your credit card interest rates.

16. Make a disposable razor last six months.

Saving Money on Vacation

17. Buy souvenirs strategically.

18. Use frequent flyer miles to save money on flying for your next vacation.

19. Save money by getting the best deal on airfare — even after you buy your ticket.

20. Get free upgrades and travel in style.

21. Don’t waste money on passport pictures.

Credit and Debt Savings

22. Transfer high-interest debt (like credit cards) to lower interest debt (like a line of credit). Make sure you keep up the same payments to clear up the debt faster.

23. Freeze your credit cards — literally.

24. Pay down your consumer debts. If you’ve accumulated high-interest debt and can’t pay it all off but you are still saving money, consider temporarily reducing the money you’re saving in favor of paying off the debts (which are surely at a higher interest rate than your savings are). But don’t forget to…

25. Increase your savings amounts once you’ve paid down debts. (You’re used to living without the money anyway…save the difference).

26. Think of your credit card as a glorified debit card. This way you’ll spend within your means but also enjoy some of the advantages of credit card usage, including frequent flyer miles.

27. If you’re paying for credit card insurance, don’t.

Saving While Shopping

28. Reconsider that impulse purchase.

29. Use some savvy shopping strategies at the supermarket.

30. Ask for a discount. No really, just ask.

31. Before you replace that broken item with a new one, make sure it’s not covered under some sort of warranty, even if you don’t have the warranty slip. (See above about simply asking).

Savings for Family and Life

32. Start a gift calendar so happy occasions don’t turn into sad, unexpected spending sprees.

33. Start tracking your expenses to determine how (or if) you could save more money.

34. Consider selling your car and investing in an auto share program.

35. Involve the kids in your savings plans and budgeting. With them in the know, you can all work together to stay on track and save money.

36. Find a financial planner who can knowledgeably help you navigate your savings, debt management, insurance, tax planning, and estate planning. If you have a financial planner but aren’t sure they’re up to snuff…

37. Consider firing your financial planner.

What savings changes can you make today?

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Guest's picture
Kody

Wow, let me tell you.. This is one good article! I don't care how much money someone makes, its always good to save money! My favorite is number 30 :) Well done!

Guest's picture
Shawn

Wow, Awesome post. This economy is terrible and I was recently forced to resign from my J. O. B. this post is going to help us save more money for next year's Disney vacation. Oh, and I'll be sure to use the vacation money saving tips here, too!

Thanks so much for helping regular Joes like us beat the budget crunch!

Guest's picture
Guest in CA

You've recently lost your job/one income & still are planning a Disney vacation next year? You're either not a 'regular Joe' or in denial.

Ray Jamali's picture

The amount of people who miss out on "Free Money" because they fail to contribute to their employer group plan is astonishing!

Great article!

Guest's picture
Bethy

LOVE #26. Using a credit card like a debit card is a great practice to start!

Guest's picture

Another way to save on vacation is to travel in the off season. My hubby and I did this all the time before Max started school. Great deals at great places!

Guest's picture

Andrea: Traveling off season is big and sometimes just a week difference can save you a lot of money. We were fortunate that our school always start a week later than most. During that week amusement parks were much cheaper, weeks at the beach half price, etc. - Bryan Cooper

Guest's picture

Wow I love all of these changes. They seem very do-able.

Guest's picture

What a great list of money saving ideas that are easy to implement! I would like to add re-balance your portfolio at least twice a year, preferably quarterly.

Guest's picture
Sean H

I think the most important is just changing your mentality and saving money around the house! Great stuff Nora!!

Guest's picture
Patrick

I'll add how much I've seen where you shop matters with little discernable product or service quality. There are high end grocery stores and discount grocery stores, with many (not all) products being virtually the same. There are high end restaurants and mid-grade restaurants with little discernable difference in food quality for the average palate. There are high price times to go to the movies at high price theatres and matinees at lower priced, first run theatres (or you could wait and rent the same movie). When you add up these marginal savings across a family of 4, it can add into the hundreds pretty quickly. This says nothing of all the DIY opportunities to save (dry cleaning, home repairs, oil changes, etc.) Shop around and learn some basic skills and you can allocate those dollars to things you really enjoy.