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Everyone knows the feeling of receiving their first paycheck…or second…or third. But after one too many trips to the mall or packages delivered to your door, it’s time to start saving.

Although saving money may not be as fun as a shopping spree, it is more important. You never know when unpredictable events and hardships can plague your pocketbook and damage your financial stability.

While the thought of saving money for an economic emergency can seem overwhelming, setting aside money for your future does not need to be a scary task. Whether you are looking to stash away some extra cash or save for retirement, there are many ways to remain debt-free and financially stable.

This article will include ways for everyone to save, from basics for beginners to advanced tips for experts, and also explain creative and non-traditional ways to stash your cash.

Best Ways to Save Money: the Basics

Establish Your Budget

The first step to saving money is creating a budget and sticking to it. When deciding how to save money, choose a budget strategy that will work best for you. If you like to be organized, consider creating a color-coated spreadsheet carefully outlining your expenses. Or consider a simple budget like the 50/30/20 budget. Spend 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on yourself, and devote 20% to savings. If you are more laid back, utilize the no-guilt budgetand spend your money on whatever you want after you pay your bills. Implement one of these strategies or choose another that would work better with your income and personality.

Having a budget will give structure to your spending and discourage you from taking unnecessary shopping trips. Don’t forget the importance of choosing a budget that works best for you and sticking to it!

Build an Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund can be a huge relief in a time of distress and unexpected expenses. When building an emergency fund, it’s okay to start small, but over time try to accumulate enough money to cover 3 6 months of living expenses. To grow your fund, set monthly goals of how much money you want to add. Put this money in a separate high-yield savings account. Your money will earn interest and is easily accessible in a time of need. Just remember to only use this fund for real emergencies – not shopping emergencies.

Download a Budget Spreadsheet or Savings App

In an age of technology, there’s an app for everything – even saving money! With technology at your fingertips, you can access your personal finances with the click of a button. Consider swapping your Poshmark or Etsy apps for online budgeting apps like PocketGuardor Mint. These apps help reduce spending, encourage saving and help with budgeting. If you’re interested in an easier use of technology, download a budget spreadsheet to manage your expenses.

Set Up Automatic Savings

If seeing the dollar sign tempts you to shop, consider setting up automatic savings. Automatic savings are one of the easiest ways to save money because your money goes right into your savings account before you can even think about what you want to spend it on. If you’re a shopaholic who needs some control, talk to your employer or bank about setting aside a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into a savings account.

Use the 30-Day Rule

If you are looking for another way to curb any excessive shopping habits, implement the 30-day rule into your daily life. The 30-day rule encourages shoppers to take a step back from their prospective purchases and wait 30 days to see if the item they want is reallyworth it. After a month has passed, most people will realize that whatever they were obsessed about weeks ago was just another impulsive want.

Take Advantage of Employee Benefits

Many companies offer retirement and entertainment benefits to their employees, so take advantage of your opportunities. Maximize the money you are saving for retirement and attend a sporting or community event while you’re at it. Talk to your company’s HR team to see if you are eligible for any deals or freebies!

Save for Specific Holidays or Purchases

Have an anniversary coming up or can tell your washing machine might fail you? Start saving now! Set aside a portion of your paycheck leading up to a big purchase so that your wallet won’t be strained when the time comes to pay for a large expense. If you’re looking for an appliance or gift that has a sale period, do research to see when deals are being held. Or better yet, get creative and make a DIY gift for any presents you have to give!

Take Inventory of Unnecessary Subscriptions

Do you have a box filled with unread magazines or subscriptions to more than one streaming site? If so, it may be time for you to cancel your unnecessary subscriptions and save a little money. What’s the point of renewing your subscriptions if you’re not going to use them?

Ways to Save Money: Advanced Tips

Start Investing

Whether you’re a stock market rookie or pro, investing can help you save money. If you’re looking to invest, create a plan and do ample research of the stock market before making any big decisions. You can choose to invest as much or as little money as you want, so stay in your comfort zone to reduce the risk of losing money. Next, determine if you want to invest in stocks or bonds, decide how you want to own those assets, and where you want them to be held. Don’t be afraid to take a chance, because you might become more profitable off your investments!

Seek High Interest Savings Accounts

If you want to make more money from your savings, consider putting your funds in a high interest savings account. These accounts offer rates around 2% which is 200 times more than a standard savings account. Make sure the account is insured and look out for requirements and fees before you select your account.

Choose Credit Cards Wisely

It may be best for you to ditch your credit card for cash and envelopes, but if you insist on swiping your card, choose one that offers cash back rewards. Cash back rewards compensate shoppers for charges they put on their credit cards by offering them a percentage of what they spent in the form of cashback or points. If you tend to make a lot of purchases on your credit card, get rewarded for what you buy so you can save more.

Find Ways to Increase Income

Right now, your income is probably what you make at your full-time job. But if you had the opportunity to make extra cash on the side without devoting as much time to your work, I’m sure that you would be interested. Passive income is a hands-off approach to generating income. You can earn passive income by flipping sites, landlording, and peer-to-peer lending. These are only some ways that workers can earn extra money. Become an entrepreneur and try making some passive income.

Shop by Unit Price

Utilizing the unit price when shopping can increase a shopper’s bang for their buck by giving them more merchandise at a lower cost. Looking at the unit price instead of the shelf price can be beneficial for customers looking to buy in bulk. This can be used to maximize savings when buying food and other household items like laundry detergent, toilet paper and diapers.

Consider Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation can combine your high interest debt (such as credit card bills) into one, lower interest payment. If your debt is unorganized and causing you stress, consider consolidating your debt which can make it more simplified, structured, and easier to pay back. If you are thinking about debt consolidation, utilize a debt consolidation calculator to see if you are eligible.

Refinance Your Mortgage

If you have the option to refinance your mortgage for a lower interest rate, it can be a helpful tool in saving money. There are many benefits of refinancing including lowering your monthly payment, consolidating debt and utilizing home equity to achieve other financial goals. If you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, see if it’s right for you!

Check Your Credit Report for Free

Once a year, you can use your free credit report to check your credit score and look for opportunities to raise it. Credit scores are used by landlords, lenders and potential employers to check your credit history to determine what you can get sold at what price. Use this opportunity to check for inaccuracies and chances to raise your score.

More Creative Ways to Save Money

Cook and Make Your Own Lunch

Opting to stay home and eat instead of visiting a restaurant or picking up fast food can be beneficial for your wallet and your body. Home cooked meals are healthier and cheaper than eating out, and they do not all require a lot of hard work and preparation. Get a cookbook for beginners or save some money and Google easy recipes to make. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make good, healthy food!

Always Shop with a Grocery List

Perusing the grocery store aisle for tasty treats and new deals can be tempting and exciting, but at the end of the shopping trip, you might have a $100 cart overflowing with extra items. Creating a grocery list (and sticking to it) will help you save money and put an end to impulsive purchases. It will also help your meal planning and encourage you to cook more and waste less. Also check to see if your grocery store has a rewards program, so you can receive cash bonuses and coupons when you shop!

Cut the Cords

Cut cable, turn off the TV, ditch your landline, and conserve your lighting usage. You might not think that these are ways to reduce spending, but they will add up overtime. Take a look at your cable and cell phone services and ditch the ones you don’t use. Summer is approaching, so utilize natural lighting and beautiful weather to spend less time on your electronics and more time outside!

Sell Before Donating

If you have piles and boxes of unwanted clothing and items, make some money off your merchandise and sell them online or at a garage sale. Posting on resale sites like Poshmark.com and Craigslist.com, or selling items at yard/garage sales is not as difficult as you might think. Just take inventory of your items, create prices and sell!

Don’t Autosave Your Payment Information Online

Shopping is easier when you don’t even have to input your credit card information and address into the website when you’re prompted to pay. It’s also more dangerous and can result in too many impulsive buys. Make it harder on yourself to shop online, and don’t fall victim to autosave.

Drink Water

Another way to save money and calories is by drinking more water. Drinking about two liters of water per day will keep you hydrated, help your stomach feel full and make you less likely to overeat. It will also help you save money and refrain from drinking soda or coffee whose costs can add up. Remember: water is free!

Explore Free Events

Summer is a great time to explore your community and spend time in the sun. Many cities offer free concerts, movie nights and other events for residents and visitors to enjoy. Check out your city’s community bulletin or scroll through Facebook’s event page to see what’s happening in your area!

Visit the Library

If saving money is making you feel helpless and bored, take a trip to your local library. A library isn’t just a place to read. You can socialize with your community, learn something new, check out a movie or CD, and attend free events or workshops. Unleash your childhood nostalgia and see that having fun in a library can be just as enjoyable for an adult as it is for a kid.

What are some ways you save money on everyday things? Let us know in the comments!

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