1. Adopt a savings strategy

Dollars are taken out of the envelope or put in an envelope. Online donation. Donation concept. The Internet.
Shchus / Shutterstock
Start putting away more money from each paycheck, so you won't spend it frivolously.

A saving strategy is as simple as making an automatic deposit from your checking to your savings account every payday.

It could be as little as $10 or even as much as $100, but the main thing is: Do it!

If you were to put away $20 from each biweekly paycheck, you'd be setting aside $520 a year that would not be spent on pricey mochas or other trivial stuff but instead could go toward your future.

Savings for 2019: $520

2. Cut your bank fees

Bank customer inserting a bank card into an ATM
Stop spending so much on ATM surcharges and other bank fees.

If your checking account charges monthly fees, you're paying an average $13 per month, according to a report from the CO-OP Credit Unions, which also says the average out-of-network ATM fee is $2.71 and the average overdraft charge is $32.44.

Let's suppose you use other banks' ATMs twice a month and overdraw your account four times a year. The fees for your checking account — including the basic, monthly ones — would add up to a painful $350.80 a year.

So, avoid overdrafts by setting up an alert for when you have a low balance; switch to a free checking account; and make a small purchase with your debit card to get cash back at the register the next time you're tempted to use an ATM that's not in your network.

Savings for 2019: $350.80

3. Start planning out your meals

Woman shopping in supermarket from a list on her smartphone
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock
Plan out your meals and make a shopping list that you'll stick to.

When you head to the grocery store without a plan, you end up overbuying. Do you need all four of those peppers or the extra pound of ground beef? Probably not, but without a plan how would you know?

Planning out your meals before the start of each week — and before you go to the supermarket — allows you to see the big food-spending picture, create a shopping list that works and buy only what you need.

As you avoid throwing money away along with food that's gone bad, you might easily shave at least $15.75 a week off your family food bill.

Savings for 2019: $819

4. Just call and ask for savings

Young woman, with man at her side, talking on her smartphone with a service provider
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock
You need to call service providers and ask about ways to save.

Take a close look at all of your routine bills — including your insurance, your gas bill and your cellphone plan — because you might easily be paying too much.

Sometimes, all you need to do to cut those costs is pick up your phone. It can be that easy.

A call to your insurance agent might bring new discounts that cut your car insurance rate by $120 a year, a call to your gas company could reveal hidden rebates saving $5 a month, and a call to your cellphone provider could result in a cheaper plan costing $10 less per month.

Savings for 2019: $300

5. Get a cash-back credit card

Woman's hand holding credit card with shopping bags on her arm
ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Get a credit card that rewards you with cash back every time you shop.

Credit card debt is something you'll want to avoid, but a credit card can make you money on day-to-day purchases.

Let's say you use a 1% cash-back credit card on $2,920 in basic monthly expenses throughout the year. That means $29.20 in cash will go back into your pocket just for using the card. And note that cash-back cards often have better returns on certain categories of spending.

We're assuming you'll pay off your balance in full every month and before the bill is due — because you won't want to lose any of that cash to interest or late fees.

Savings for 2019: At least $29.20

Total savings possible in 2019: $2,019!

About the Author

Scott Nordlund

Scott Nordlund

Freelance Contributor

Scott is a freelance contributor to MoneyWise.

You May Also Like

Looking For Passive Income? There's One Option Right Below Your Feet

One company’s innovative approach makes farmland investing easier and more accessible.

How to Get a Free Credit Score

It's simpler than ever to get a free credit score.

Do Big Stores Save You the Most? We Price-Check Our Shopping List

With one 30-second trick, we found $460 in savings beyond Walmart and Amazon.

3 Ways to Earn Big Returns Without the Shaky Stock Market

Don't limit yourself to the stock market. These alternatives can trounce the S&P 500.