Have you ever asked yourself, “How can I save more?” I have. After you’ve built your monthly savings target into your budget, it can sometimes be hard to reach that goal consistently — let alone to save beyond that. If you find yourself asking how you can save more money (without starting a side hustle), you might begin the hunt for surprise savings! Surprise savings are items in your budget or current systems that can be reevaluated periodically to save money or reduce spending.
Get ready to stack your savings and reach your financial goals!
- Check subscription services. The tricky deal with subscription services is that a large number of them are under $10, if not under $5. It’s so easy for these charges to go unnoticed in our budgets, but they stack up fast. I love my TV subscriptions as much as the next introvert, but have you recently taken inventory on just how many services you have? Are you truly leveraging every service to its full benefit for the monthly price? Or can you dispose of a few of them to send those funds to savings instead?
If you are positive you need all of these services, consider downgrading to a lower-cost plan. You might add commercials, but you also might save an extra $5 per month.
- Check gift card balances. Have a wallet full of miscellaneous gift cards? (Where did they all even come from?!) Quite literally, it’s like discovering $20 in your jeans pocket! Take 15 minutes to get on your computer and check those balances. I recently did this and found a few cards I had completely forgotten about, including a $25 Outback Steakhouse card. Hellooo surprise date night!
- Use cash envelopes. Here, you will find surprise savings by not overspending on your budget. Chronic overspenders compromise their savings goals each month by pulling money out of savings to pay for items on which they overspent. Cash envelopes help you stick to your spending plan and also serve as a reminder of the categories where you shop the most. This awareness opens up more doors for future ways to save. Find that your “Eating Out” envelope has dwindled in the first week? Consider cutting back on dining out for next month. Grab your very own cash envelope system in our shop.
- Participate in a “no-spend week.” Chances are, you already have everything you need for the week to forgo discretionary expenses. You most likely have dinner in the pantry, coffee in the cupboard, toiletries in the supply closet, and clothes in the dresser. Consider taking the challenge of a “no-spend week.” This challenge is exactly what it sounds like: you don’t eat out, you don’t go shopping, you don’t spend money. This challenge can push extra funds into savings by taking the amount you would have spent that week (for example, your $10 at Subway) and saving it instead.
This challenge does require a little planning, so be sure you set yourself up for success by inventorying your house and fridge before outlawing the grocery store. If a week seems like too large of a task, start with a “no-spend day!”
- Switch to reusable products. Investing in everyday items like reusable Ziplocs, European dishcloths (I LOVE these things), or menstrual cups instead of tampons, are not only healthy for the planet but also healthy for your wallet! Over the long run, reusable items save big bucks by eliminating the need to continuously repurchase. Plus, imagine not having to remember to put those items on the grocery list each month! (I enjoyed learning more on this topic in this article.)
- Call your agent. Have you looked at your insurance policies lately? Is there a discount program you could enroll in to cut your insurance rates? What about switching to a totally different company? Simply calling your insurance (or phone, or TV, or other) provider can result in annual savings that really pack a punch.
- Set up automatic savings. If you want to make saving even easier, set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings. It can be as small as $5, or as large as you need to reach your goals.
Many banks even have sub-accounts within their savings accounts where you can earmark funds for unique goals. For example, I bank with Ally and use their “savings bucket” feature. Each month, I might distribute the amount saved to my “Travel” savings and also my “Irregular Expenses” savings buckets. This makes it easy to save for multiple items without multiple accounts. Check with your bank to see how you can automate and customize your savings plan!
- Scan receipts for gift cards. I recently discovered a new app called Fetch Rewards! All you do is scan your receipt and rack up points to redeem for sweet perks like gift cards, charitable donations, and magazine subscriptions. I was skeptical at first, but it really is as easy as scanning receipts and redeeming rewards on items I already purchase. I plan on saving my points to redeem Amazon gift cards for Christmas shopping! Purchase certain brands to earn bonus points. Download the Fetch Rewards app, join with code M68KCQ, and earn 2,000 points!
There you have it! 8 ways to find surprise savings without even leaving the house! Do you have a favorite way to find surprise savings? Let us know in the comments!