5 Strategies for Building Your Savings Each Month

Published on June 21, 2024

Who has money to spare these days? The cost of living feels like it has skyrocketed and every dollar you get may be going to bills and survival. But, you have goals, dreams, and maybe big-ticket items you want to save for. How do you do that? You might have to cut back a little here and research a little over there, but you can save. You just need a sound strategy and the discipline to start implementing it as soon as possible.

1. Make Sure You’re Not Overpaying for Bills

The first, and perhaps easiest, way to start saving right now is to get on the phone and start making calls. You likely pay several bills each month that you have come to take for granted. You might even have set up automatic payments on most of your monthly expenses. Water, garbage, power, car insurance, homeowners insurance — you name it — you likely haven’t negotiated those amounts in years, if ever.

That can all change with a single phone call to customer service. Sometimes, just the request for a lower payment will get a customer service agent looking for ways to save you money. And with companies that have competition, you can almost always get a better rate. Call around and get car insurance quotes, a home insurance quote, or even a quote to transfer your cell phone plan. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars each month.

2. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Once you know you’re paying the minimum fees and rates possible for the services you receive each month, it’s time to set a budget. So many people today simply spend without thinking. You watch your bank account on your smartphone, roughly calculate what you’ve got to spend, and then likely overspend before your next paycheck. This pattern is a normal one, especially for most people who didn’t grow up learning about money.

However, this habit can keep you always feeling strapped for cash and stretching desperately until the next payday. Create a better habit by sitting down with a worksheet that helps you calculate your monthly income balanced against your monthly expenses. You can find a great budget planner that helps you design a plan that works for you. Then, you have to make the decision that you’re going to stick with it so you can start saving.

3. Make Saving Automatic

Now that you’ve figured out with your budget how much you could be saving, make that saving automatic. It’s easy to spend all the money, and it goes fast. You can talk yourself out of putting money away every time by insisting you “need” this or you “deserve” that. But it’s time to delay gratification and crack down on yourself. The sooner you decide to discipline yourself, the sooner you will see your savings grow.

One of the best ways to discipline yourself is to make it an automatic process. Set up direct deposit into your savings account from your payroll department, so you never even see the money. And keep a savings account at a different bank from your checking account, so it’s not easy to access. If you can’t set up direct deposit, establish an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings on the days of the month when you know you’ll have the money.

4. Save and Invest

Of course, you want to make sure that you’re not just putting money away but also that your money is making money for you. Gone are the days of simply accepting a .5% return on a standard savings account with your bank. You might as well hide the money in your mattress. Today, you can earn more than 4% in an online savings account, and some of those banks will even offer you a bonus for signing up for direct deposit.

In addition to saving your money, you should be investing it. There are relatively safe, low-risk investments you could be making with a broker or on your own that could earn you an even higher interest rate. Talk to a broker at a reputable firm about your financial savings goals and find out where you can put your money without fear of losing it in the market. You might be surprised how much money you’re leaving on the table.

5. Get a Side Hustle

Finally, if you still feel like you’re just not saving enough money to meet your goals, whatever those may be, look into a side hustle. If you’re already working full-time and that income is supporting you, great. But you don’t want to feel like you’re always “barely making it.” The U.S. economy has come to favor the contract, freelance workers who are willing to work part-time, negotiate their pay, and not demand benefits like health insurance and a 401k.

For people looking for a side hustle, this shift can be just what you need. Go online and search any number of freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and even LinkedIn. You can find work in your area of expertise or in an area that requires no skill at all. You could be a beta reader for budding authors and make cash or even walk dogs a few times a week. The best part is you can pocket all that extra money for your growing savings.

Regardless of where you are in life right now, you can find a way to build up your savings. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it is possible. Trust in your ability to make a few changes, practice self-discipline, and accomplish your goals. And you don’t have to implement all of these strategies at once. Start at the top and work your way down. You’ll be saving in no time.

Newsdesk Editor