Save money. Two simple words of advice, that sound so simple but take a lot of effort and planning to accomplish. Many Americans do not budget for a savings, and sometime we don’t even know where or how to start. The amount you should have in your savings account even varies depending on who you talk to. Suzy Orman suggests eight months worth of expenses saved in your emergency fund. Americansaves.org says a $500 emergency fund is a good starting point, Dave Ramsey says $1000 is a good start, but how many of us actually save? According to tradingeconomics.com and the economist.com, it is estimated that less than 6% of Americans are saving. Many of us only consider saving when it comes to a major purchase, such as a down payment for a new house or car. So in reality many people do not save for an emergency. A good way to start is by making small changes in everyday life. Here are some ideas on how to save money. These ideas are not anything groundbreaking or new, but if you stick with it you’ll find extra cash in your savings at the end of the month.
A good place to start is cut out coffee, I know blasphemy! Cut out coffee in Seattle? Honestly though, let’s do the math. If you spend $2 a day on coffee (and that’s the cheap stuff) that would be $730 a year. Matter of fact let’s cut out lunch all together. Ok, so I’m not saying don’t eat lunch but think about it. We spend about $10 a day for lunch, (at least that’s how much lunch cost near the Verity Corporate office) and if you purchased lunch every working day this year, which is 251 days, that would equal $2510 a year. I know, these are extreme numbers but think about it, if for a year, you cut out coffee and lunch you would have $3240 in your pocket.
Another good way to start is to sign up for free rewards programs at the grocery stores and only purchase products that are on sale. This could significantly save you money every month and by making your own meals and packing your lunch you could save about $1500 a year. Your grocery rewards can also save you money on gas by offering a discount at the pump, which is more money in your pocket.
Shop for clothing at second hand stores, clearance racks at department stores, or outlet malls. You could save up to 70% if you just wait until the end of the season. If you shop at thrift stores you’ll end up having a one of a kind item that you know no one else will be wearing.
Another small switch with BIG impact is to bank somewhere that fits your needs. Consumers should not have to pay maintenance fees just to have a checking account. I’ve only been at Verity a short while now, but I am witness to our daily interactions with members and how we make a difference in their lives. I’m probably bias because I work here, but our employees truly strive to save our members money. Whether it’s calculating out how much money we can save them on their auto loan by refinancing through Drive Happy or on the other spectrum, educating a member on how to rebuild credit in the long run, we really want to help our member by offering great products and services. Making a switch to a financial institution that wants to build a strong relationship with you can be life changing and money saving. Does your current financial institution offer that?
Have you ever tracked what you spent for a month or looked at your monthly statement? I did, and I was embarrassed at how many times I went to Starbucks! Once I saw it on paper, I cut down on how many times I went and made my Carmel Macchiatos at home. If you track what you spend, it will empower you and give you control over your finances.
Take advantage of your employee’s 401K match. I’m always surprised at how many people don’t participate in their 401K plan, most employees will match up to a certain percentage and that’s pretty much free money.
You work hard for your money and deserve to spend it as you see fit, but having extra money at the end of each month sure is a great feeling. There are so many tips out there on saving money, and these are just some that have worked for me, so research accordingly and modify to see what fits your needs and situation. Making small changes in your daily spending, will make a big impact by the end of the year, but the only way to save is to start.
Hi! My name is Rithy (pronounced “Raw-Tee”). I am the Lending Product and System Specialist for Verity Credit Union. Although I am new to Verity Credit Union, I have worked for Not for Profit Credit Unions for over eight years (and counting). My previous roles included everything from Teller, Loan Processor, Shared Branch Administrator, Accounting to Credit Analyst. In 2011, I completed my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington in Communications and Social Sciences. I love my current role at Verity Credit Union. I am responsible for research and development of new loan products and assist in managing our loan operating systems. I am learning new things every day and that excites me!
I live in Seattle and enjoy eating and running, but preferably not at the same time (trust me, gets too messy). I’m lucky enough to say I got to marry my best friend, who also happens to enjoy eating and running. In my free time, I also love to cook and spend time with family and friends. My family loves to get together and celebrate, and we celebrate in the best way possible, with lots and lots of food! Even when I’m not celebrating with family, I often find myself cooking meals for at least 6 people, even though it’s just for my husband and me. My love for food is also the main reason in why I enjoy to run!