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How can I save money? five clever money hacks that will increase your savings

Building up savings can seem like a daunting task. But by taking some simple steps you can start tucking away money today to secure your financial future.

Five clever money hacks that will increase your savings
Jessica RinaldiReuters

The past couple years have seen a great upheaval for many Americans from the near collapse of the US economy to the fastest recovery from a recession in history. The rapid rebound though has brought with it inflation not seen in four decades putting new strain on household finances.

With prices rising on just about everything it can seem impossible to set aside money to save for the future especially considering a new report that found 61 percent of respondents said they had little to nothing left over at the end of the month in April 2022. Here’s a look at what you can do to start saving today.

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Become financially literate

One of the first steps you will want to take as you build up your savings is to beef up your financial knowledge. Over the past decade Americans have been losing financial literacy according to FINRA National Financial Capability Study. The Nation’s Report Card on Financial Literacy gives only 16 states a “B” score or higher on their K-12 financial education.

Put money into a savings account

As the saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Squirreling away money for a rainy day fund or to reach financial independence has become easier with the advent of fintech apps. There are a number of which that will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar amount and put that loose change into an investment portfolio or savings account. Three that are recommended by Nerdwallet include Acorn, Qapital and Digit.

You can also dedicate a percentage of your paycheck to deposit into a high-yield savings account each payday. By not having the money on your regular account that you budget off of, you will be less temped to spend the funds.

While regular checking and savings accounts have measly annual percentage yields, or APY, digital banks generally pay more than the national average. Current, a financial technology company, is offering consumers an APY, of 4 percent on up to $6,000 worth of savings, that is more than 30 times the average on traditional savings accounts.

Reduce your expenses

Avoiding senselessly spending money on things you don’t use is a great way to save a bundle. Although many have cut the cable as prices rose into the stratosphere, they are now roped into multiple content subscriptions like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Take a look at your lifestyle habits to determine if you really need to have all those services.

Technology once again can come to your aid to find just what you are signed up for. A number of free apps, some have pay premium options, will identify and track all your subscriptions. They will also show you how much they are costing you and help cancel those that you find unnecessary.

Use less energy

By making your house more energy efficient you can save serious money on utility bills, which given the rising price of oil and natural gas are getting more dear. You can switch out old incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient and long-lasting LED bulbs. Change your old analog thermostat for a smart one that you can program to better control heating and cooling your home. Additionally, improving the insulation in your home, although it can be costly upfront, will deliver savings for years to come.

With gas prices approaching $5 a gallon on average across the US, it might be time to consider going electric or if feasible get rid of your car altogether. By walking or cycling to work you’ll also improve your health with will also save you money in the future. If you have access to public transport, you can catch up on your reading to be more financially literate or just your favorite novel.

Do it yourself

From cooking your own meals to fixing things around the house you can cut significant amounts of money that you are spending. Plan your weekly meals, including taking a tupper to work, so that you purchase just the products that you need. Waste not, want not.

Write up a shopping list before you go to the store and stick to it. Also, choosing what you eat, like cutting back on expensive meat and buying food that is in season, will provide savings that add up in the long run. Better yet, you can grow your own food when possible, a fun activity for the whole family.

Maintenance is not only fun but can save a lot of money, “a stitch in time saves nine.” Also your services are much more affordable that hiring a repairman. The internet is overflowing with DIY instructions for fixing just about anything.