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10 Ways to Save Money [Easy & Practical Tips]

Saving money doesn't have to be difficult! Little steps can add up to big success. Once you decide to save more and spend less, you can find simple ways to incorporate good money habits into your lifestyle.

Bigger goals are easier to reach when you start with small, achievable targets. Our easy and practical tips will soon have you moving in the right direction toward financial security! Read on to learn 10 ways to save money.

1. Include Savings in Your Budget

When creating your regular monthly budget, make sure you include an amount that you will save each month just as you plan for your utilities and other regular expenses. Another money-saving tip is to add up how much you spend on small things per year, not just per month. For example, a $5 coffee each day adds up to $1,825 a year!

An easy way to start saving is to open a Share Savings Account and set up automatic transfers from your Share Draft Checking Account or via Payroll Deduction. These accounts can typically be opened with a small balance and you can earn interest on your savings.

2. Slowly Increase Your Savings Amount

Once you've scheduled a transfer from your checking account to your savings account, the next step is to see if you can increase your savings goal at intervals throughout the year. Choose a small increase of $10 to $50 then test it out for a few months.

With a small increase, you may find you don’t miss the money at all. If this is the case, try increasing the amount by another $10 or $20 for an extra boost to your savings plan. You could even use the extra to start saving for retirement!

3. Use an Emergency Fund Not Credit Cards

Life doesn't always go as planned. From a broken water heater to new tires at the worst time, these expenses can’t be avoided. You could build an emergency fund using a windfall from a bonus or tax refund and then create a separate scheduled transfer into a designated account.

Having an emergency fund for unexpected expenses makes it easier to deal with surprises and it can reduce, or eliminate, the need to use a credit card. The less you use your credit card, the less interest you'll pay, and the more you'll save in the long term.

4. Set Up Overdraft Protection

Perhaps your employer switched payroll systems and your automatic deposit didn't go through as planned, or a merchant charged you twice for an item. Even if the negative balance in your account is only $1, most financial institutions charge around a $35 fee for every overdraft. 

If a simple mistake means three overdrafts in the same day, it can easily cost you over $100, making it even harder to get back to a positive balance. That's why you need to take advantage of a free Overdraft Protection service. When your checking account funds are low, your credit union will transfer money from your savings account – saving you costly fees.

5. Don’t Waste Money On ATM Fees

If you're traveling or in a rush, it is tempting to head to the first ATM you find in those times you need cash. But ATMs outside your network may come with a fee that can be $5 or more. Use a few of these ATMs each month, and it will quickly add up. 

Take the time to find out which ATMs are in your network so you don't need to pay a fee. For example, Best Reward members have access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs nationwide through Alliance One and MoneyPass. You can easily use Online and Mobile Banking to find the nearest surcharge-free ATM on the go.

6. Pay Down Debt

If you have multiple credit cards and loans, you may be paying interest that quickly adds up over time. Another issue is that you may be at risk of missing a payment, which means you need to pay a late payment fee – and your credit score will suffer.

A debt consolidation loan can be a good option to get your credit cards and other loans under control so you can save on interest, get debt-free faster, avoid fees – and put all that extra money into your savings account. If student loans are an issue, you might want to talk to a financial advisor about how to get on top of your debt.

7. Give Up Some of Your Luxuries

Once you've tackled these easy ways to save money, it's time to look at the things that may need more effort or sacrifice. If your weakness is new shoes, see if you can skip buying a pair this month. Plan a staycation instead of that trip to Mexico. Try to quit smoking.

Streaming services and online subscriptions are newer items that have sneaked into our monthly expenses. Make sure you regularly check if you're using the account and cancel any that aren't needed.

8. Find Discounts

Another crafty way to keep more money in your pocket is to look for discounts on big things like utilities or insurance, not just a coupon that saves you money on pizza. For example, find out if your local government is offering incentives to winterize your home or get solar panels.

See if you get a discount for bundling auto and home insurance. Explore if certain appliances might save you money on your electric bill. Once you start looking, you'll find ways to save money everywhere!

9. Choose a Credit Union Not a Big Bank

The last item on our list of 10 ways to save money is to choose your local credit union to take care of your financial needs, instead of paying extra fees and higher rates with a nationwide financial institution. Credit unions pass revenue back to members rather than paying out to shareholders.

In addition to great interest rates on loans, generous yields on savings, and lower fees, we give back to our local community so everyone benefits and everyone can save more money. Click below for key differences between banks and credit unions.

Banks vs. Credit Unions: Understand the Differences