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Creative Ways to Save Money - Part 2

Last month we began a two-part series on lesser-known or unconventional ways to grow your savings. In part one, we shared tips involving technology, the sharing economy and living frugally. We conclude the series with guidance on a handful of lifestyle choices that can add up to big savings in the long run and innovative, fun ways to set aside more of your money.

Make Clever Lifestyle Choices1

You know the old saying: “Every little bit helps.” Even saving pocket change can be a start to increasing your nest egg. Read on for more ideas on changing your habits to grow your money.

  1. Shop on Wednesdays. Many grocery stores launch new sales mid-week, generally on Wednesdays, so shoppers who browse the aisles at that time often get first access to new promotions and discounts. Plus, stores sometimes honor the previous week's coupons. Best of all, you can maximize your savings while shopping during a less busy time of week.
  2. Cut Cable and Stream. Evaluate your entertainment expenses and consider cutting cable or satellite TV. Instead, subscribe to streaming services that offer a more cost-effective alternative.
  3. Sign up for gas rewards programs. When gas prices rise, everyone feels pain at the pump, but one way to save some money on gas is to sign up for a fuel rewards program at a grocery store. With these programs, buying groceries can earn you discounts on gas at gas stations operated by (or partnering with) the grocery chain.
  4. Try negotiating your cable or credit card bills. Consider talking with your service providers to lower your annual percentage rate (APR) or your monthly cable bill. If you are a long-time customer, your history with the company may give you some leverage. Better yet, do some research on the competition’s rates. If a rival credit card or cable company can offer you a lower rate, consider letting your current provider know as a negotiation tool.
  5. Shop around for the best savings account rate. One of the upsides of high interest rates is that you may be able to find savings accounts offering up to 4 or 5 percent interest. Many of these are online banks, but some brick-and-mortar banks offer high interest rates as well, so it’s worth doing some research to consider parking your money in an FDIC-insured bank offering higher rates.
  6. Check your public library. Visit your public library to see if you can find books, movies and music you can enjoy for free rather than buying them.2


Use Fiscal Fitness Fun and Games3

Saving money doesn't have to be a monotonous task. By incorporating game-like challenges into your money-saving strategies, you can make the process more enjoyable and rewarding. See some examples below:

1. Take the 52-Week Challenge. Start by saving $1 in the first week, $2 in the second week, $3 in the third week, and so on. By the end of the year, you will have saved $1,378.

2. Try the $5 Strategy. Every time you receive a $5 bill, whether it be the change from a purchase or a withdrawal from a cash machine, put it away in a container in your house -- no matter what. If you don’t use cash, use an app that allows you to transfer change from purchases to your savings automatically. A Detroit blogger who tried this approach, saved $1,200 within three months.

3. Go on a no-spend vacation or take a no-spend challenge. Choose a day each week or one whole week every few months to avoid spending any money on anything but bills, and mark those days on your calendar. The money you don’t spend can go into your savings account. You can reward yourself with an inexpensive gift at the end of the year for the day-a-week challenge or at the end of the week for the non-spend week challenge.4

The suggestions mentioned above are just a starting point. Consult your financial planner to adapt them to your individual financial circumstances Remember, even modest changes in your habits and lifestyle can significantly enhance your savings over time. So, get creative, explore new avenues, and watch your savings grow.

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