How to Save Money in 2020
Considering the constant upheavals raging in the present economy and political climate, we shouldn’t forget about the stability and peace of mind that thrifty saving can bring. The first step towards curating a sustained and peaceful lifestyle is the will to bring out a few changes that’ll thrust you way out of your comfort zone and compel you to embrace the unknown. Don’t worry, I’m not about to get all existential. Ok I will, just a bit:
“The secret of realizing the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships out into uncharted seas! -Nietzsche
But we’re not asking you to ship out without a penny in your pocket! Yes we never want to become too money-focused or too OCD about financial security, but money is an energy, a current that can be used positively or negatively. Money can be a beautiful thing and we want you to have more of it so you can live even more dangerously. So here are few strategies to help you save more in 2020 so you can send your elvish ship out to sea.
Create a Budget
First things first, for you to streamline your earnings and expenditures, it’s totally necessary to have a good budget. We recommend the free budgeting app EveryDollar.
Make a list of all your potential expenses in a month and with EveryDollar you’ll easily be able to make sure it’s commensurate with your income. Sometimes we all get a fire under our buts and forget our budget. We spend spend spend with no regard to how it’ll affect the future. It may be fun but it’s not frugal. It’s a habit that won’t allow us to save anything, lands us in further debt trouble and creates a larger financial vacuum.
Set aside a chunk of your monthly budget to serve you whenever there’s an emergency. That way you won’t have to dip into your savings on those rainy days. Create a new budget every month because there are instances when you aren’t required to spend as much as you did in the preceding months. It’s a fluid thing that constantly needs tweaking and updating. If you capitalize on these little opportunities here and there, even if they don’t seem to make any difference initially, by the end of the year you will have a generous portion to buy cookies with 🙂
Pay Your Bills On Time
A major fraction of our earnings go to utility bills, I know mine do. Unfortunately, they’re often a necessity that we can’t get around. Though there are ways to cut down on your household expenses, there’s no denying that some bills are inevitable. So what can we do in the face of necessity? Pay them on time!
About 1 in 4 Americans don’t always pay their bills on time, according to the 2015 NFCC’s Financial Literacy Survey.
There are two fundamental reasons why. First, paying bills at the beginning of every month is a huge relief that’ll wipe some stress off of your table. It’s a big weight off your shoulders. And living lightly is what elves love best. Secondly, if your bills are late, you’re going to be swimming in unnecessary late fees that are often ridiculously high. Late fees make every frugal elf cringe.
Get Another Credit Card
Yep, you read right, we are indeed saying you should get another credit card. Why will it catalyze your savings? The reason is that when you resort to transferring your credit card debt into an interest-free balance transfer credit card, you can effectively move past the expensive interest rates and payback only the amount you’ve borrowed. This is a great option for people in credit card debt, and for those of you who aren’t, we have a solution for you too.
You can apply for a credit card that grants you reward points or cash backs every time you make a payment with them. My favorite is the Chase Unlimited Freedom card because it has the highest cashback on the market at 1.5% of every purchase!
By the time you reach the end of the month, the reward points collected can be converted to points for online shopping or my favorite, cashback. For instance, if your credit card expenses amount to $500 till the 25th of a month and you collect about $50-70 as cashback or reward, it can easily take you through the remaining 5 days. However, let’s not forget that all credit cards have ridiculously high-interest rates so they are something that you want to avoid owing on at all costs. It is a massive waste of your freedom to be in credit card debt! Now be a good little frugal elf and pay your bills people 🙂
Be More Frugal
Cutting down on extra expenses can make a huge, positive impact on your savings. All the little penny pinching that us elves love so much really adds up over time. The first few months of a new habit can sometimes be difficult, but soon it becomes engrained and new neuropathways in your financial brain are formed.
Make a definitive list between your necessities and your luxuries. Splurge on the latter only when the need truly arises. Sometimes you need to learn to listen to your intuition for matters like this. Your mind can be telling you one thing but your heart another. It can be tricky but I’m confident you can learn to walk the frugal tightrope. Listening to your intuition is a skill that pays dividends in other areas of your life.
“Intuition is the whisper of the soul” -Jiddu Krishnamurti
Another strategy that you can follow is that of the three “R”s: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce your consumption and you’ll realize just how much extra stuff you use and eat that you don’t really need. Reuse old clothing and items and you’ll cut down dramatically on your spending. And finally, recycle the things in your home for obvious reasons; you’ll contribute towards the reduction of environmental footprints, you’ll shop less online, you’ll curb those temptations that compel you to buy unnecessary things.
Save Your Coins
Our last tip for the new year is to not neglect all the coins you receive after cash transactions. Even though this idea might seem insignificant at first, when all your coins pile up over months, it can net you a lot of extra cash. They can have a net worth of $8-10 every month!
In a year you can save up to $100-$120 just by saving all your coins. I know I could improve on this as my coins get scattered everywhere and neglected. Getting a piggy bank to store your extra coins will pay for itself in no time. Here’s our favorite piggy bank, it even counts the coins as you put it in so you know how much is in the jar, it can become a really fun money-saving game:
We hope you enjoyed these tips for 2020. Have a beautiful year and may you live dangerously!
The Frugal Elf