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How to Save Money Without Even Noticing

[Friday, January 22nd, 2016]

Everyone’s always trying to save money, it seems, yet very few people actually have an adequate amount saved. Financial experts recommend having a few months of backup income saved up. It’s great if you have enough to cover your expenses for at least three months—six is even better. But how can you squirrel away enough cash each month to build that safety net?

Here are three ways you can start saving more without even noticing (or not very much, anyway):

1. Make small budget cuts. Look at where your money is going, and find the places where you could make different choices and not feel the impact. Could you make coffee at home instead of buying it at the coffee shop every day? Maybe you tend to buy more groceries than you need, and produce ends up spoiling before you can use it. Or the cable TV package you pay for is more than you really need. There are probably several ways you can cut your spending right off the bat without feeling it very much. The key is to put the money you save aside, so it doesn’t get swallowed up somewhere else. Link a savings account to your bank account, and each time you forgo that venti latte, move $5 into your savings account. Before you know it, your account will be getting bigger with very little effort on your part.

2. Save on interest. If you have any debts, whether it’s a mortgage, a car loan, credit card debt, or a small business loan, look at ways to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying. Refinance your house, apply for a low-interest credit card with a 0% APR promotional period, consolidate your student loans, or negotiate your other types of debt. The better your credit score, the lower APR you will qualify for, so make sure your credit is good. Paying interest on a debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the less you can pay, the better, obviously. Again, make sure you transfer the money you save into your savings account. Calculate your savings after you refinance or transfer that balance, and then follow through with socking that money away.

3. Get rid of things you don’t need. Most of us have things lying around that we don’t use; whether it’s clothing, sports equipment, or craft supplies. Sell anything you can, donate the rest, and get a tax-deductible receipt from the charity you donate to. Put your earnings or tax savings into your nest egg and watch it grow. Running a leaner household can also save you money on maintenance of that stuff you don’t use, and prevent you from spending money on duplicates of things your can’t find. For example, if your house is so cluttered that you can’t find a battery when you need one, you might run out and buy a new package. Before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on batteries and you still can’t find one when you need it!

These three tips can help you save more money than you thought, in ways that don’t make you feel deprived. How much will you save this year?

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