One of the first steps to creating better financial habits is to have an emergency fund. Having some money set aside for the bumps in life’s road means that when things go wrong, you’ll be more prepared. Whether it’s a trip to the emergency room, the car breaks down, or you need to replace a major household item, having at least $1,000 socked away for a rainy day can prevent you from having to use your credit card, borrow from friends or family, or skip eating because your budget is too tight.
Building an emergency fund isn’t always easy. If you have to draw on it, building it backup can also seem like a daunting task. Here are 31 money saving tips for every day in May to help you get your finances on track.
- Download an app that connects to your bank account and rounds up your purchases, putting the “spare change” into savings.
- Put your actual spare change into a jar and bring it to the bank when it accumulates.
- Bring your lunch to work every day.
- Bring your coffee, too.
- Visit your local library for free entertainment.
- If you need a tool, small appliance or other item you’ll only use once in a while, see if you can borrow it from a friend.
- Visit thrift shops instead of buying new for the things you need.
- Add fruit, cucumber, or mint to your water for a refreshing treat on a hot day and skip the pricier beverages.
- Clip coupons and put the amount you save in the bank.
- It’s yard sale season! Look for treasures amid the junk. If nothing else, it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday.
- Host a yard sale of your own!
- Grow a garden. Not only will you stretch your food budget, but gardening is another great weekend time-filler.
- Slow down while driving and avoid rapid accelerations and hard stops. You’ll save gas!
- Go for a walk on a warm evening rather than drive around. That will save gas, too.
- Organize a swap with friends. Bring gently used clothes and accessories your tired of and trade with friends. Less expensive than shopping!
- Open windows to maximize air flow rather than turning on the air conditioner. Close blinds or curtains to block the sun and avoid overheating a room.
- Host a game night with friends. Make it a potluck where everyone brings a snack and make a cheap evening a fun one.
- Make your own household cleaners out of ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. A quick internet search will yield plenty of recipes.
- Set up an auto-deposit into your savings account. Even $5 a week can help build up a reserve and you’ll hardly notice it leaving your checking account.
- If you have central air conditioning, now is a good time to adjust your thermostat. Don’t waste energy or money cooling down your home when you’re not there.
- Learn how to cook easy meals. Any night you can whip something up instead of ordering a pizza is more cash in your pocket!
- Use your clothes dryer and dishwashers overnight instead of during the day. Not only will you avoid heating your house (and then having to spend to cool it down), you’ll pay less in energy costs.
- Check out a farmer’s market. The fresh, seasonal produce is usually less expensive and healthier.
- Order your groceries online to avoid stepping inside the store and impulse spending.
- If your store charges for this service, make a shopping list and stick to it!
- Unplug computers and cell phone chargers. They use continuous power and they generate heat.
- Sign up for free rewards programs at restaurants you love so that when you do eat out, you can earn something, too.
- Visit your local park or hiking trails.
- Quit smoking and cut back on other vices that aren’t healthy. This has many short and long-term benefits for your health and your wallet.
- If there’s a big-ticket item you need, look out for holiday sales at the end of the month.
- Look for local entertainment. Many towns offer fun and free activities for families.
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