How to Save $2,018 in 2018
These handy savings tips from real financial experts will help you turn your new year into your best year.
Happy new year! Did you make some good resolutions? Was one of them to save money? Even if it wasn’t, would you like to save money anyway?
We couldn’t hear your answer, but we’ll assume it was yes, and if it wasn’t, you’re free to stop reading now. For the rest of you, we’re going to tell you how to save $2,018 in 2018. The amounts each of these tips will save you are exact, scientific, and guaranteed!*
*These amounts are not exact, scientific, or guaranteed. But even if you don’t save exactly $2,018, You’ll save a lot more than you would have otherwise.
Get those credit card rewards.
We’ll start with a quick one that doesn’t require you to give up anything at all—though to be fair, if you can’t qualify for any credit cards then you won’t really be able to use this tip. However if you can qualify for a reward-offering credit card, Birch CEO Alex Cohen has some saving tips for you:
“Credit card rewards are often times overlooked, which leads to the average shopper missing out on over $200 a year in credit card rewards by using the wrong cards.
“Cutting unnecessary spending should be a priority to save money but shopping for essentials is inevitable. To make every dollar count, people should review their credit card rewards programs and assign which cards to use for certain purchases.
“Alternatively, they can download the free Birch app which takes the guesswork out of credit card rewards. By using geolocation functionality, Birch alerts users in real-time which cards to use for the most benefits so when someone with the app walks into a store, they won’t have to guess which card will yield the most rewards.”
If you want those rewards but are worried about keeping up with credit card payments, you could consider the Debitize app, which allows you to use credit cards as though they were no-risk debit cards and still reap the rewards.
SAVING AMOUNT: $200
Take a no-spend month.
Obviously, you can’t avoid spending entirely, unless you’re reading this via an archive program in a post-currency utopian future. Still, Carla Dearing, CEO of Sum180, advises trying the next closest thing:
“Jumpstart your savings campaign with a no-spend month. This exercise can make a big difference in your personal balance sheet. It’s simple: commit to a 30-day period of spending ONLY on necessities. Walk or bike to everywhere instead of driving; take lunch to work every day; embrace free entertainment options, like exploring local parks. Not only will you save a lot of money during this one month period, you may find yourself re-evaluating old spending habits altogether and deciding you prefer your own creative, low-cost alternatives.”
SAVING AMOUNT: $400
Track your optional spending.
…and then cut it out. It’s easy to let your spending get out of control if you aren’t keeping a close eye on it. But don’t take our word for it! Here’s what Patricia Stallworth, author and CEO of PS Worth, had to say:
“Track what you’re spending. The best way to do that is to keep a record of everything you spend — from bills you pay to snacks at work. By tracking your spending you can begin to see where your money is going and places where you might be wasting money that you could be saving. Then saving makes more sense than just wasting money. People can find hundreds or even thousands of dollars that they are frittering away.”
One common suggestion, but it’s common for a reason, is to always make your coffee at home. Just get a heat-retaining reusable bottle to take on the go with you and you can kiss Starbucks goodbye forever. The amount you’ll save will depend on how much you were spending on coffee previously, but it’s an everyday expense you can cut out that will really add up.
SAVING AMOUNT: $300
It’s a real pain making your own lunch and/or dinner each day, but if you can take a couple hours on Saturday or Sunday to prepare most of your food for the week, it becomes much more doable. That also means you can buy ingredients in bulk to save money.
SAVING AMOUNT: $509
Pay yourself first.
Part of building up your savings is prioritizing saving before other expenses unless they’re absolutely essential.
“About savings strategies, add a direct debit to your bank account to pay a certain amount of money into a savings account each month,” advised financial planner and author Doug Goldstein. “Preferably, it should go out the day after your salary goes into your account. That way, you don’t have to remember to set aside money as the system is automated. You also end up paying yourself first, as the money goes out when your salary comes in. This is a very healthy way to build up your savings.”
We’ve also got a whole collection of apps in our database you can use to help you save.
SAVING AMOUNT: $610
Wait… that adds up to $2019… well, find a vending machine and buy yourself a candy bar.
Congrats! Now you’re on your way to saving $2,018 in 2018!
Alex Cohen is one of the founders of Birch Finance (@BirchFinance) and currently serves as its CEO. Prior to Birch, Alex worked as a business analyst in domestic payments for JP Morgan Chase, risk and IT consulting for Protiviti and Vice President of Partnerships for SharpSpring – a b2b marketing automation startup. Alex graduated the University of Florida in 2015 with two bachelor degrees in Finance and Information System.
Carla Dearing is CEO of SUM180, an online financial wellness service designed to be simple and affordable. She is also CEO and Managing Director of IMC, a marketing services agency. Previously, Carla held senior executive positions with at the University of Louisville, Community Foundations of America and Investors Capital Services. Earlier, she worked at Morgan Stanley and American National Bank & Trust Company. She holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA from the University of Michigan, Phi Beta Kappa.
Douglas Goldstein (@DougGoldstein), CFP, is a cross-border investment advisor and best-selling author.
Patricia Stallworth (@PatStallworth), CFP®, is a money coach and author of the upcoming book, “How to Become a Wise, Wealthy Woman.”
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