Develop strategies to save money effectively

Find simple tips to save money effectively so you can achieve your goals!

Being able to save money effectively is essential. Savings provides the foundation to achieve your goals and helps you get out of living paycheck-to-paycheck. But how do you achieve healthy savings on a tight budget with all your bills and other obligations?

These articles talk about the latest tips and techniques for saving money effectively.  Learn better ways to set money aside consistently and the best strategies for making it grow so you can reach your goals.

A young woman who is in the dark about group insurance

Americans In The Dark About Group Insurance

August 17, 2017 | Joe Pye

They aren’t aware their employers offer insurance for costs unrelated to healthcare.

Hand borrowing money from other hand

Borrowing Money Now Hurts Your Retirement Later

August 17, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Employee-sponsored retirement plans are dying because workers are taking out loans without paying them back or leave a job without taking their retirement with them.

Lauren from Financial Best Life talks about shopping addiction

Lauren Went on a “Spending Freeze” to Pay Off $8,000

August 16, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

The debt she accrued wasn’t her fault this time, but it was her responsibility.

President Donald Trump?

Does Hate President Trump?

August 16, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader is mad, but is his anger misplaced?

Used cars lined up on an auto dealership car lot, waiting for car buying financed through auto loans

Older Used Cars Are Stolen More Than Newer Models

August 15, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Hondas, plus Ford and Chevy pickups are the favorite vehicles of thieves

Find credit cards with the best rewards program.

The Worst Rewards Credit Card EVER?

August 15, 2017 | Jason Steele

If the Kroger ‘1-2-3 Rewards Card’ isn’t the worst, it’s close.

Americans paying for college

Americans Are Getting Better at Paying For College

August 14, 2017 | Joe Pye

For the first time in a decade, scholarships and grants cover a third of college costs.

Miami sunshine's on new cars

Need a New Car? Hope You Don’t Live in Miami

August 14, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Most American households can’t afford new cars in all but one of the largest metro areas in the country.

Woman depressed in the summer

The Most Depressing Statistic of the Summer

August 14, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Trust me, you’ll never guess what it is.

Start saving for homeownership, retirement and emergencies.

Homeownership Considered Best Path To Longterm Savings

August 10, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

The rub? More than half of Americans worry they can’t afford it

Dollar sign with life saver in ocean

Americans Are Finally Saving For Emergencies

August 9, 2017 | Joe Pye

The number of Americans without an emergency fund is at a six-year low.

Woman sits at her laptop by a window wondering are credit cards bad or not

Money on the Street Interviews: Are Credit Cards Bad or Good?

August 9, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

When it comes to credit cards, even good answers have bad elements lying just beneath the surface.

A private stash of hundreds of dollars hidden under the floor boards

How Do I Hide Money From My Girlfriend So I Can Hide It From My Wife?

August 9, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader wants to start deceiving his girlfriend before he gets married.

A pile of textbooks

Who Are Counterfeit Textbooks Really Cheating?

August 8, 2017 | Joe Pye

After tuition, textbooks are one of the biggest college expenses. One company is trying to stop students from seeking other options.

Still shot of's rent map showing top cities for rental price increases and decreases in 2017

Renters: Get Away from California

August 7, 2017 | Dori Zinn

There are major cities across the country seeing huge spikes in rent over the last year. Is it time to move?

Map showing top 5 states for most common male and female first names in the U.S.

What’s In a Name? Your Home Value Could Be

August 7, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Named Stuart, Anna or Peter? You’re more likely to have a higher home value.


Being Polite Can Save You Money

August 4, 2017 | Joe Pye

No really, there’s a report that says so.

Illustration of three Americans who made financial mistakes because of spending habits and budgeting

What’s Your Dumbest Debt Mistake?

August 4, 2017 | Michael Koretzky

Our favorite answer: Marrying the wrong person.

This year's rental advice tells you to ignore the "For Rent" signs and stay where you are, since moving will cost you

Renters Save By Staying Put

August 3, 2017 | Gregory Cox

People who move more often pay more than those who don’t.

You can put the brakes on overspending and save money on auto insurance by allowing your insurer to track your driving

We’re Driving Less But Paying More

August 3, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Three years ago, 8.5 percent of drivers were letting companies track their driving habits. Now, that number is at 6 percent. You can save on insurance without letting companies track your driving.

40-hour work week? Try 60

Financial Woes Are Literally Killing Us

August 2, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Almost half of Americans worry about their finances at least once a week, and almost one-quarter of us are probably thinking about our money problems at least once a day.

Portrait of Zina from Debt Free After Three,’s Financial Profiling featured personal finance blogger

Zina Paid Off $28,000 of Debt in Three Years

August 2, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

She put every extra penny toward her student loans and carefully tracked her spending.

student loan debt collection

Does The Government REALLY Want To Help Me Pay Off My Student Loans?

August 2, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

This week: A reader is trying to find legitimate ways to lessen his payments, but it’s not easy.

For saving money, clipping coupons with scissors still reins supreme, but is that really the best savings strategy?

If Nothing Else, We Save When We Shop

August 1, 2017 | Dori Zinn

The vast majority of Americans search often for ways to save when going grocery shopping. If only we would stash away the money we save.

Millennial spending is tipping the scales on discretionary spending on things like alcohol, dining out and caffeine.

Millennials Spend More on Going Out Than Past Generations

August 1, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

From coffee to happy hours, Millennials can’t resist dropping the cash.

Woman happily driving convertible on a sunny day after she was able to refinance her car loan

Need a New Car? Head to Florida

July 31, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Fly from your city to another city, buy a car and drive home and you will still pay less than if you had bought that car locally.

The cost of funerals can lead to debt without end of life planning; even without family inheritance you need estate planning

We Should Plan Our Funerals, But We Aren’t

July 31, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Most Americans think planning their own funerals is important, but most aren’t actually doing it.

speeding ticket insurance rates

Speeding can Lead to Big Insurance Jumps

July 28, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Most drivers know that DUIs will make their insurance rates go up, but many may not know that minor driving infractions, like speeding and careless driving, will make your insurance premiums go up, too.

Man walks along a political fork in the road (illustration)

3 Financial Ideas Democrats Hope Will Win Back Congress

July 27, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

Democrats want to offer “A Better Deal,” but they’ll have to win a lot of seats first.

Save the children and moms

Bring Your Budget Back to School

July 27, 2017 | Dori Zinn

More than half of parents shop with a back-to-school budget and expect a rise in expenses this year. But parents are working the extra expenses into their budget.

money causes divorce

6 Ways to Save Money When Attending A Wedding

July 27, 2017 | Lucy Lazarony

We all know how expensive weddings are when it’s your own. It’s also pricey when you’re just a guest. Back to School 2017 illustration with icons for clothing, electronics, shoes, and school supplies

What’s Your Back-to-School Budget?

July 26, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

After the holiday season, back-to-school shopping is the second largest spending event of the year. Nearly half of Americans will shop online, according to the National Retail Federation. In total, they’ll spend an estimated $83.6 billion — a more than 10 percent jump over last year, and a five-year high — to get grade school […]

Freedom is Groovy personal finance blog logo with beatnik cat

Moving Saved The Groovy Family a Ton

July 26, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

Once they relocated, they set their sights on their retirement goals.

The cost of a pile of school supplies is nothing compared to the shocking state of school teacher pay

Back-to-School Shopping: $73 Billion

July 25, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Kindergarten through college will cost consumers nearly $73 billion this back-to-school season, with college being roughly two-thirds of that. Illustration by Ivan Benavides: 5 Male penny-pinching characters from movies and TV around broken piggy bank

5 Penny-Pinching TV And Movie Characters

July 25, 2017 | Zina Kumok

A rundown of some of the most frugal TV and movie characters who know when to put their wallet down Illustration by Ivan Benavides: 5 Big Spenders in Movies and TV throw money in the air

5 TV And Movie Characters That Can’t Stop Spending

July 24, 2017 | Zina Kumok

A look at characters that can’t seem to stop emptying their wallets, and as a result, suffer the consequences

Facts about money management illustration shows man thinking about saving money

3 Profitable Facts About Your Workplace

July 24, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Learn how to make more money from these new studies.

Woman fighting a headache, sitting in front of a laptop in a home office late at night, plagued by financial stress

Broke Millennials Can’t Crawl Out from Financial Hole

July 20, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Group had less help from parents, learned more on their own than their more successful counterparts.

Man sitting at a laptop typing with one hand, holding a cybersecurity padlock in the other, showing identity theft protection

Half the Internet Harvests Your Personal Data

July 19, 2017 | Gregory Cox

And the companies that have it aren’t protecting it.

Eva, creator of Teens Got Cents, teaches finances to young people on her blog

Eva Teaches Young People About Money

July 19, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

She started blogging at 16 years old, and a few years later became a full-fledged entrepreneur.

Couple on a sailboat are well off but also may not connect American wealth with having a lot of money

Americans Define Wealth in Very Different Ways

July 18, 2017 | Gregory Cox

Think it means being rich? Think again.

same-sex wedding

Same-Sex Weddings Are Getting More Expensive

July 13, 2017 | Joe Pye

LGBT couples spend less on weddings than heterosexual couples.

My Family On a Budget

Dishes Helped Steve Improve His Finances

July 12, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

They remind the My Family On a Budget writer of his money mistakes.

Strings of 101010 computer code spanning across the image, with IDENTITY THEFT embedded in red

How Can I NOT Be a Victim Of Identity Theft?

July 12, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

This week: After her bank account is riddled with fraudulent checks, she wonders: Is anyone safe?

Families unsure about how to save money at the store are also unsure about how to teach kids money

Parents Still Don’t Know How to Teach Their Kids About Money

July 11, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Even though parents want to have a conversation, bad habits are passed down through generations

A Baby Boomer business woman sits in a corner office, examining a computer screen

Americans Hope They Can Work in Retirement

July 11, 2017 | Joe Pye

And that’s a good thing, since we aren’t saving enough anyway.

A young women leans across at table with a residential home blueprint and a piggy bank, savings can make housing costs easier

We’re More Confident About Saving When We Don’t Have Much Saved

July 10, 2017 | Gregory Cox

Despite stashing less than they should, Americans feel comfortable with their retirement savings

401k match and automatic retirement saving work

Look What Happens When Companies Care About Employee Retirement

July 10, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Employers who match contributions or have automatic programs set up for their employees have more workers who are prepared for retirement than those who don’t have any methods in place.

When you add it up, rewards mean nothing if you don’t eliminate credit card debt quickly.

Make Money By Being Disloyal — To Your Credit Card

July 10, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Your loyalty program isn’t saving you money, and it’s your fault.

A clean, modern, organized living room space, looking into the dining area in a single family home

Selling Your Home? Make It Blue-tiful

July 7, 2017 | Dori Zinn

On average, homes with blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more than those without blue bathrooms.

6 Smart Tips for How to Save Money More Effectively

#1: Make savings automatic

Anytime you can set up a system to work without you, it’s more likely to work. If you have to remember to set aside money each month before you spend it, it’s less likely to occur. So, you want to make savings automatic.

The best idea is to ask your HR department to split the Direct Deposit for your paycheck. Allocate 5-10% of your income to deposit directly into your savings account while the rest goes to checking. This way, you don’t even have to think about setting money aside. Otherwise, set up a recurring monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account.

#2: Establish a short-term emergency fund first

Your first savings goal should be to have a $1,000 balance that you maintain in your main savings account. This should be the minimum balance that you try to keep in the account so you have funds to cover most emergencies. Then you can use the funds if your car breaks down, you have an expensive home repair or an unexpected medical bill.

As you’ll see below, this is not the full financial safety net you need. But it’s a good, solid first milestone that you can aim to achieve.

#3: Next aim for 3-6 months of budgeted expenses

A true emergency fund is big enough to cover all your bills and necessary budgeted expenses for up to 6 months. This means you can be out of work due to unemployment or a medical issue for half a year without facing financial distress. You don’t have to rely on high interest rate credit cards to cover your expenses or take out costly payday loans.

Total up all the necessary expenses in your budget and multiply by three. This gives you the next savings milestone you should aim for after your basic $1,000 emergency fund.

#4: Don’t be afraid of investing

A traditional savings account typically has an interest rate of less than 1%. In fact, 1% is considered a “high rate” when it comes to savings accounts. The problem is that such a low rate means it takes a long time for your money to grow. You’ll be lucky if you ever achieve your goals with such little growth.

In order to save money effectively, you must make those savings grow effectively. This means you need better growth rates than your basic savings account can offer. Without more robust investment tools, it will be hard to achieve stable long-term savings.

#5: Consider cash equivalents

If you don’t like the risk of the stock market and you prefer to start small, look to cash equivalents first. Cash equivalents refer to any investment that you can easily convert to cash. This actually includes basic checking and savings accounts, as well as investments like Money Market Accounts and Certificates of Deposit.

Money Market Accounts function like savings accounts, except they usually have higher minimum balance requirements. The applied interest rate is usually higher, too. In fact, most MMAs work on a tiered rate system. This means the more you save and the higher your account balance, the higher your rate of return, too.

CDs are a type of short-term investment that also offer better rates for saving. You deposit a certain amount of money that matures over a certain term; typically, terms range from one week up to five or ten years. At the end of the term, you withdraw the money or let it roll over for another term. This type of savings can be good to hit specific goals like we will describe below.

#6: Allocate savings for specific goals

Think about savings in terms of specific goals that you want to reach. For instance, you would have your basic savings and emergency fund, long-term retirement savings, and then savings that you allocate for certain purposes. This will help you save strategically and ensure the money doesn’t get spent.

So, let’s say you want to buy a car next year. You have $3,000 in savings that you want to use for the down payment. If you put that money into a 12-month CD, it can grow for a year and it’s not sitting in your savings account where it can get spent. Allocating savings this way helps ensure you can pay for specific goals with less need for financing. You can also pay for things like vacations without high interest rate credit card debt coming home with you.