9 Easy Ways to Save Money Without Really Trying

A hand about to insert a coin into a piggy bank

Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you’re saving for a vacation or an emergency fund, there are many smart ways to do so without feeling deprived. Start by trying these smart money-saving tips and watch the cash pile up in your account.

1. Create a Separate Account for Supplemental Income

Do you freelance, tutor, or you have a side hustle? Have the money you make from this supplemental income go into a separate account while you continue to use your current checking account for everyday banking. This way, all the money from your additional income can be saved toward your financial goal.

If that separate account has debit card access, you can keep the card at home in a secure place to prevent the temptation of using the money.

2. Start Canceling or Negotiating Recurring Purchases

Make a list of all the services you subscribe to or order from on a regular basis. This may include cable, internet, phone service, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships and more. Circle any services you have, but don’t use. Cancel those right away.

For services you want but may be paying too much for, call the company and ask for a better deal. You can also comparison-shop online to find better savings.

3. Save Big at the Grocery Store by Knowing Where to Look

Start by walking around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the basics, such as produce, dairy, and meats are located. If you skip processed foods, you’re paying less and eating healthier. When you do need packaged items, look up and down — the lower and upper shelves away from eye-level usually contain less expensive brands.

Take your phone with you when you shop. Use online coupons to save more and compare prices. If you find a lower price at a competitor, many stores will match the price, saving you even more money.

4. Take Advantage of Employer-Match Retirement Options

Check with your company to see if it offers an employer match for any contributions you make into a retirement account. Typically, a certain percentage of pre-tax earnings will be automatically taken out of the employee’s paycheck each month. Employers commonly offer this program, matching, on average, 3%-6% of an employee’s salary.

Since this money is taken out before the employee gets their paycheck, it’s an easy and smart way to save money for your retirement.

5. Post Pictures of Your Motivation

Are you saving for a house or a special purchase? Use a photo of your target as your phone’s wallpaper or place the photo on your desk or in your car. If you don’t have a specific target, post the savings goal you have. Each time you want to spend money, take a look at what you’re aiming for. Is the impulse buy really worth putting off that dream?

6. Sign Up for Cash Rewards, Loyalty Programs, and Coupons

Company newsletters and loyalty or customer rewards programs are designed to save you money. If you always shop at the same grocery store, sign up for their reward card and coupons for extra discounts.

Being smart about what credit card you use can also help you save at the store. Check out our Founder’s Rewards Card – you can earn 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase when using your card.

7. Track Your Spending for a Month

For one month, keep a running list of every purchase you make. Record even the tiniest of purchases, like a coffee. By the end of the month, you’ll see where your money is really going. You can also target those purchases you want to cut out. For example, if you know you spend $20 a week on cafeteria lunches you don’t really enjoy, you can cut down on big spending each month by packing your own lunch for less.

Writing down all your purchases also keeps you on track. You may find it easier to say “no” to impulse buys and small purchases if you have to write them down and make yourself accountable for them.

If a digital option is more your speed, you can utilize the “financial insights” portion of PSECU’s mobile app. It will provide reports on your spending that can inform your budgeting and spending decisions in the future.

8. Automate Your Savings

You can opt to have a pre-determined amount of money automatically deposited into your savings account each month before you even have a chance to miss it. You’re less likely to use your savings if the money is not in your main account.

PSECU has several account options depending on your financial goal. Contact us to learn more about a Money Market Share, Regular Savings Share, Vacation Savings Share or Christmas Savings Share.

You can also go a bit further by not linking your savings account to your debit card, meaning you can’t withdraw the money you’re trying to save from an ATM.

9. Say “No” to the Habits That Make You Overspend

Do you tend to buy things when you go window-shopping? Do social media or magazine ads make you want to go on a spending spree? Identify the habits that lead to spending and cut them out of your life. Identifying and adjusting your spending behaviors or habits even just a little can have a big impact on your savings over time.

Want more money management tips? Check out the resources on our WalletWorks page.

*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit(s) of at least $500. See the Visa® Founders Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.