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.

The Apathy Ends personal finance blog logo

Interest Payments Shocked Chris into Paying Down His Debt

October 18, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

He and his wife “took action” after receiving a year-end tax document.

Family Shopping Together

Curb Shopping: 6 Tips For Shopping The Ultimate Clearance Rack

October 17, 2017 | Deb Hipp

When it comes to shopping, you can’t beat “free.”

What America Financially Fears for Friday the 13th

Facing Our Worst Financial Fears

October 13, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

We’re most scared of dealing with emergencies, losing our jobs, and outliving our savings.

Couple with Money

We Might Win $100,000. What Should We Do With It?

October 11, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader is looking at a six-figure windfall, but her husband is about to make an expensive mistake.

New Home Owners

Dirt Cheap Areas to Live

October 10, 2017 | Dori Zinn

There are cities across the nation that are cheap enough for you to live in and land a well-paying job.

Devil burning your cash in credit hell (illustrated)

Are You Living in Credit Hell?

October 9, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

This spooky map looks at how long it takes to pay off the typical credit card debt in every state.

Debt Is the Biggest Financial Stressor.

Surprising No One, Debt Is the Biggest Financial Stressor in the Country

October 6, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Almost one-quarter of Americans say debt is their top financial stressor. But it’s more than half of all the states in the union. How can they get out of it?

Mama Fish Saves blog logo

Mama Fish Believes Financial Success Starts at Home

October 4, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

She strongly advocates educating your children about money early.

Researching vacation time

Americans are More Invested in Vacations than Retirement

October 3, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Americans would rather put more time, effort, and money into researching vacations and their future vehicles than make financial investments.

Minimalists teach about debt.

What I Learned About Debt From Minimalists

October 3, 2017 | Deb Hipp

Lesson No. 1: Less stuff equals less stress.

Money stress can be caused by an empty wallet

Millennials’ Financial Habits Are Making Them Ill

September 29, 2017 | Gregory Cox

And they’re more stressed about money than their parents and grandparents

Richard Cordray quizzes American's about their financial health (illustrated)

More Than 40 Percent of Americans Can’t Pay Their Bills

September 28, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

If Donald Trump wants an easy win, promote financial literacy. It really does make a difference, according to the CFPB.

Andy from Marriage, Kids and Money

The Day Andy Decided He Was Done With Debt

September 27, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

He and his wife realized they weren’t rich, they were broke.

Natural disaster can strike anywhere like this flooding

Where Is the Safest Place To Live In The United States?

September 27, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader doesn’t want to spend money repairing his home after a natural disaster.

A man with a block of cheese counts his discretionary income

Get All The Cheddar

September 26, 2017 | Dori Zinn

This map will show you where you can make the most of your disposable income.

Woman with a multi-level marketing scheme and a sly look

Drop Your Friends When They Try to Sell You Crap You Don’t Need

September 26, 2017 | Zina Kumok

Here’s how to handle relationships when they become transactional, not supportive.

Man and woman sit on the couch looking at a bill and dealing with money fears

Men And Women Have Different Money Fears

September 21, 2017 | Joe Pye

Guess who’s afraid of never being able to retire? And who fears living paycheck to paycheck?

A man at the airport happily reads about how to save on flights

How I Fly Like a Cheapskate

September 20, 2017 | Chris Persaud

I’m willing to book at the airport to save $38. Are you?

Paying off my debt means eating ramen all the time

How Can I Pay Off My Credit Cards Without Eating Ramen Noodles Forever?

September 20, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader wants to pay off his credit card debt, but he also wants to eat.

A baby boomer man stands at a sunny window contemplating his retirement plans

Baby Boomers Fear 2007 Financial Crisis Ruined Their Retirement Plans

September 19, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Over three-fourths of the generation feel they will have no savings for their post-work life

A millennial who is broke shows off his empty pockets

Stuck in a Rut: Some Millennials Will Always Be Broke

September 12, 2017 | Joe Pye

Millennials with lower credit scores struggle to make ends meet.

Woman shows how you can save money on groceries

9 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

September 12, 2017 | Deb Hipp

Brush off that wilted spinach and climb out of the grocery store dumpster.

A man trying to crawl out of the financial hole he's gotten himself into

Americans Are Crawling out of Their Financial Hole

September 7, 2017 | Gregory Cox

Job market gains and a decrease in inflation are playing a huge role in growth

an LGBTQ couple hiking gives each other a high five

If You’re LGBTQ, Financial Struggles Are Old News

September 7, 2017 | Brittany Ferrendi

Almost half of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer middle-income earners suffer from financial insecurity.

Khaleef Kicked the Eating Out Habit

September 6, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

He and his wife eat healthier now and save more money.

Gender and food

How to Dine Out on the Cheap

September 5, 2017 | Deb Hipp

Even if you’re working to pay off credit card and other debt, you can still go out for a nice meal.

Is student debt hanging over your head

Cheaper Cost of Living Means Southerners Pay off Student Loan Debt Sooner

September 4, 2017 | Dori Zinn

More Americans living in Southern states can put more money toward their student loan debt since cost of living is cheaper.

Why we pay more for cars with bad credit

Most Lemons Come from Car Dealerships

August 30, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Two-thirds of lemons were purchased at new and used car dealerships, and most of those duds were discovered after only a month of ownership.

Amanda Abella

Personal Finances Saved Amanda

August 30, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

With employment opportunities scarce for a literature major, she discovered a new calling

This Teenager Probably Knows More About Money Than You Do

This Teenager Probably Knows More About Money Than You Do

August 28, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

The latest scholarship winner loves profit and nonprofits.

older businesswoman mentoring middle aged woman about retirement planning

What Women Don’t Know May Hurt Them In Retirement

August 25, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

At least they know who to ask for help.

Millennials are working side jobs.

Millennials Most Likely to Have Side Jobs

August 24, 2017 | Joe Pye

But even with those, they can’t keep up with older generations

It's hard for Americans to Make Ends Meet.

A Quarter of Americans Struggle to Make Ends Meet

August 24, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

In an effort to reverse their fortunes, they are setting financial goals and sticking to them.

Personal finance blogger Jessi Fearon

Jessi Accepted Responsibility for Her Debt Problems

August 23, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

She stopped making excuses and started her own financial and personal revival.

New cars lined up on an auto dealership showroom floor, waiting for car buying financed through auto loans

Am I An Idiot For Wanting To Lease A Car?

August 23, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader’s girlfriend says he should buy instead of lease.

a newlywed couple at a candlelit table

From One Woman To Another: A Big Wedding Isn’t Worth It

August 22, 2017 | Zina Kumok

And neither is the bachorelette party.

Around the web

This Week Around The Web

August 22, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

Leverage time, save money, financial failure, pay off debt… and more

A couple discusses a mortgage and whether rent vs buy makes sense

The Rent vs. Buy Debate Continues

August 21, 2017 | Dori Zinn

In some states, it is cheaper to own a home, but there are some states where owning a home is more expensive than renting one.

Howard Dvorkin’s next recession prediction starts with an auto loan bubble, but it originates from used car lots.

One More Reason Why I Still Fear An Auto-matic Recession

August 21, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

It has to do with cars, but not really auto loans.

How millennials think about retirement while relaxing at home

Millennials Would Rather Save for Retirement Than Raise a Family

August 18, 2017 | Joe Pye

They’re the furthest from retirement, but it’s still one of their main 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

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.