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How To Save Money -- Some Proven Ways! Part 1

When it comes to saving money, small changes can add up quickly. Adjusting a few daily habits, cutting monthly bills and leveraging tools that automate savings can collectively make a big impact.  Here are some of the best ways to save money right away.

1. Automate transfers

By setting up automatic transfers to your savings account each month, the money will accumulate over time without any additional work on your part. This technique can be especially useful when your savings accounts are dedicated to specific goals, such an emergency fund,  vacation or building a down payment.

At WKFCU, you can set up Payroll Deduction and have money put into your Savings Account automatically each payday.  That way, you don’t have to spend time or energy thinking about making a transfer. If you have accounts somewhere else, there are apps that automate savings.

2. Count your coins and bills

Another option is saving your change manually by setting it aside each night. After you have a sizable amount, you can deposit it directly into your savings.  In fact, when you want to watch your spending, it’s a good idea to use cash instead of credit cards because it can be harder to part with physical money. While this strategy doesn’t build savings overnight, it's a solid approach for slow-and-steady savings growth.

3. Prep for grocery shopping

A little work before you go to the grocery store can go a long way toward helping you save money on groceries. Check your pantry and make a shopping list to avoid impulse buying. Learn how to get coupons and join loyalty programs to maximize your savings as you shop. In exchange for sharing your phone number or email address, your local store’s loyalty program might offer additional discounts.

The app Flipp pulls in coupons from local stores when you enter your ZIP code. That way, you can shop sales without sorting through the newspaper. If you shop for groceries at a large retailers like Target, Amazon or Walmart, you can often find additional savings by downloading the store’s app.

4. Minimize restaurant spending

One of the easiest expenses to cut when you want to save more is restaurant meals, since eating out tends to be pricier than cooking at home. If you do still want to eat at restaurants, try to reduce the frequency. You can also opt for appetizers or split an entree with your dining companion to save money when you eat out. Skipping drinks and dessert can help stretch your budget as well.

5. Get discounts on entertainment

You can take advantage of free days at museums and national parks to save on entertainment costs. Your local community might offer free concerts and other in-person or virtual events; check your local calendar before splurging on pricey tickets to private events. You can also ask about discounts for older adults, students, military members and more.

6. Map out major purchases

You can save by timing your purchases of appliances, furniture, cars, electronics and more according to annual sale periods. It’s also worth confirming a deal is actually a deal by tracking prices over time. You can let tools do this step for you; the Camelizer browser extension tracks prices on Amazon and can alert you to price drops. The Honey browser extension pulls in coupon codes and checks for lower prices elsewhere.  When you're shopping in person, make sure you get the best deal by using the ShopSavvy app. It lets you scan bar codes and alerts you to better prices elsewhere.

7. Restrict online shopping

You can make it more difficult to shop online in order to stop spending money on things you may not need. Instead of saving your billing information, opt to input your shipping address and credit card number each time you order. You’ll probably make fewer impulse purchases because of the extra work involved.

8. Delay purchases with the 30-day rule

One way to avoid overspending is to give yourself a cooling-off period between the time an item catches your eye and when you actually make the purchase. If you’re shopping online, consider putting the item in your shopping cart and then walking away until you’ve had more time to think it over. (In some cases, you might even get a coupon code when the retailer notices you abandoned the cart.) If 30 days seems like too long to wait, you can try shorter periods like a 24- or 48-hour delay.

9. Get creative with gifts

You can save money with affordable gift ideas, like herb gardens and books, or go the do-it-yourself route. Baking cookies, creating art or preparing someone dinner can demonstrate that you care just as much as making an expensive purchase, and perhaps even more so. You can also shower someone with the gift of your time by offering to take them to a local (free) museum or other event.

10. Lower your car costs

Refinancing your auto loan and taking advantage of lower interest rates could save you considerably over the life of your loan. Shopping around for car insurance regularly can also help you cut costs compared with simply letting your current policy auto-renew. You can cut ongoing car maintenance costs by driving less, removing heavy items from your trunk and avoiding unnecessary rapid acceleration.

SWITCH and DITCH your auto loan to your credit union and you can lower your payment, rate or term. Details at www.wkfcu.org

11. Reduce your gas usage

You can't control prices at the pump, but you can do several things to cut your gas use and save money., such as,  performing regular maintenace, oil changes and tire pressure, on your vehicle, fine-tuning your driving habits by avoiding aggresive driving, driving the speed limit, using cruise control and avoiding prolonged idling. Try using a gas app, such as GasBuddy, GetUpside, or Google Maps, to pinch pennies when you do fill up.

More tips on How To Save Money are coming in next week’s GoodToKnow article.

(Partially reprinted from www.nerdwallet.com)

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