Saving money is a mind game. You just have to understand how to play it, and saving won’t be as impossible as you might think.
Rule of thumb is 20% of your after-tax income should be going to your savings and/or debt repayment. But having a chunk of money moved out of your checking account can be intimidating. After all, you have bills to pay.
So we found other ways to play the savings mind game. Follow these 9 clever ways and you could save up to $6,000 a year. Now that’s a nice savings cushion.
1. Snap a Pic of Your Grocery Receipt. Get Cash Back.
This year is the year that you’re going to cook at home more. You’re pumped to eat healthier and save more money on food. You can do it!
And with more trips to the grocery store, make sure you’re not missing out on free money.
So before you go to the store, search for your items in the Ibotta app. After your visit, take a photo of your receipt to get cash back.
On average, active Ibotta users get back up $240 a year. What would you do with that extra money?
Welcome Bonus: Up to $20
Average savings a month: $20
What it could add up to in a year: $240
Additional Referral Earnings: $5 per referral
2. Stop Losing Money on Recurring Subs and Budget Better
Autopay can be both a blessing and a curse.
No more late payments, woohoo!
Wait, I’ve been paying for a service that I signed up as a free trial? Ouch.
And you wouldn’t be alone. 84% of people forget they have some sort of recurring subscription.
You’ll see all your current subs at a glance and then you can decide which to cancel, which the app does for you. Even that pesky gym membership that’s typically so hard to get out of.
Truebill (iOS or Android) also has a killer budgeting feature: it pulls your historical spending, organizes it, and allows you to clearly see your spending so you can set a target budget with context. (Aka you can see where you’re wasting money on).
Already spending 74% of your dining budget and it’s not even mid-month? Time to cut back and the app will even alert you.
It’s simple but actionable money management that anyone can follow and it’s free to use!
Average savings a month: $60
What it could add up to in a year: $720
Bonus: School Competitors in Solitaire and Ca$h In
Solitaire Cube (iOS only) is like regular Solitaire, except you get to play for real cash!
Is there a catch? Yes but not really. I tried playing for free when I first started but I realized it would take me forever to get the tickets I need to play for real cash. I gave up and deposited $25 last week and I’ve already won $120.
The game matches you with players of the same skill level, so you have a solid chance of winning. If you’re a good Solitaire player, you could win some serious cash, like Katie Nguyen who took home $380,984 last year as one of the Top 10 Solitaire Cube
So if you think you can handle playing some Solitaire to win some legit cash, definitely download this game for free.
Not available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MD, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN
3. Binge on Food, Entertainment, Health & Tech News TV for Money (Up to $200 a Month)
I can barely cook but I love watching food videos. The new season of Chef’s Table? I’m there.
If you’re a video junkie too, become an Inbox Dollars member where you can watch their TV and Videos section that ranges from Trending News, Entertainment, Food, Health, Tech, and even the latest World News to earn some cash. You’ll also get $5 as a sign-up bonus too!
They set it up in playlists though and they’ll tell you how long it takes as it can range from a few minutes to half an hour. Tip: You can set it to Play, open up another browser tab and let the videos run while you continue doing something else if you’re multi-tasking!
Playlists and earning potential can change, but it’s possible to earn up to $200 a month, watching videos!
Welcome Bonus: $5
Potential earnings a month: Up to $200
What it could add up to in a year: $2,400
Additional Referral Earnings: 10% of your referral’s earnings
4. Medical Emergencies Happen – Here’s How To Afford the Unexpected
True story: My cousin was on a cruise to Canada, and while coming down the stairs, she missed a step and tumbled down. She later found out that she broke several bones in her left foot, and was unable to go to work for 3 weeks because of a massive cast.
Unfortunately, accidents like this can happen and it could be disastrous to your wallet and potentially your career.
Sure, you can always prepare by having a savings account devoted to “what if” moments, but if you find yourself in a tight spot, there are options that can help, like Opploans.
Even if you have a poor credit score you could still get a personal loan for short-term financial needs such as 6 to 24 months. Definitely useful for unexpected situations.
Submitting an application doesn’t affect your FICO credit score, so check if there’s a short-term personal loan that you may need for a medical emergency, major purchases, life events and more.
Here’s who can qualify:
- Residents of AL, AR, AZ, CA, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, KY, KS, LA, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NM, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, SC, WA, WI, WY, VA
- Have a minimum monthly income of $1,500 for the states listed above except AL is $3,500, and GA & ID is $3,000
- Employed at your current job for at least 3 months
- 18+ years old (19 if from AL or NE) and cannot be an active duty service member
- A traditional bank account in your name that’s been open for at least 90 days
- You get your paychecks via direct deposit
Qualified borrowers will be able to borrow up to $4,000 depending on their state and eligibility. And when monthly payments are made back on the loan, Opploans will notify the 3 credit bureaus to build up your payment history and in turn, build your credit history!
*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on your state of residence (Rates and Terms here). Credit reporting not available for Texas residents.
5. Just Saving $50 Per Paycheck + Quarterly Bonus = $1,325.67
The secret is to trick your brain that you’re not saving. I’ll explain.
When you’re actively trying to save, your brain goes into full defense mode and makes all sorts of excuses not to. Also, it’s painful to see large chunks of money leave your checking account.
So don’t think about saving, but let Digit do the actual work for you in the background.
When you simply connect your bank account, Digit does the rest in analyzing every day what you can afford to save based off your income, spending, and bills.
It’ll save small amounts for you that adds up in your credit card pay off goal. Then, once a month, Digit will automatically make an extra payment to your credit card company with what’s been saved in your goal so you don’t have to worry about it!
Go ahead and continue on with life while Digit helps you take care of the debt.
Is there a catch? Digit is free for the first 100 days (plenty of time for you to try it out) and if you dig it, it’s only $2.99 a month after.
Bonus: You’ll get a 1% savings bonus every 3 months you’re successfully saving.
Average savings in a month (varies): $144 or more
What it could add up to in a year: $1,728 or more
Quarterly bonus: 1% on your total savings amount
Additional Referral Earnings: $5 per referral
6. Make More of Your Money with This Fee-Free Banking App
Traditional banks seem to take every opportunity they can to squeeze more money out of you. With everything from a monthly service fee to various hidden fees nibbling away at your account balance.
On top of having no fees, Varo lets you make more money on your money. Varo provides a high-yield savings account that offers a 2.80% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.02%.
- Get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier
- No minimum balance requirement
- Over 55,000+ AllPoint® ATMs worldwide to use your Varo Visa® debit card
- Offers personal loans to pre-qualified customers who want to consolidate debt
- Varo will send any paper check to anyone in the U.S. on your behalf
- Varo Personal Forecast tracks your spending to manage your cash flow
- “Save the Change” rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the difference to your Varo savings account
7. This Zero-Fee Account Could Save You Over $400 Per Year
Did you know that the average U.S. household spends $290 in bank fees every year?*
Some of these fees catch unaware customers that don’t read the fine print but a majority feel that the out-of-network ATM fees are the most unfair.
So what’s the fee of an average out-of-network ATM? Drum roll, please…
Your bank should be supporting you, not nickel-and-diming you. (In this case, they’re clobbering you for your dollars!)
If you’re fed up with getting charged unnecessary fees, then consider this zero-fee account – The Aspiration Account.
This account offers:
- 2.00% APY on entire balance ( that’s up to 200x more than the big banks)
- Free access to every ATM in the world with your debit card
- Zero fees (yes fee-free!)
- No monthly minimum balance
And it only takes a $10 deposit to start the no-fee account!
The Aspiration Account is perfect for those looking to earn high interest on their money, free worldwide ATM usage, and not having to deal with any hidden fees.
And if that’s not enough, you’ll know Aspiration is different from the big banks because their motto is “Do Well. Do Good.” They back this up by committing to donate 10% of earnings to charity. This comes from whatever “tip” ($0- $10)you want to give to Aspiration for their service. Now that’s making a difference on your behalf!
With Money Magazine describing Aspiration as the “Best Checking Account in America,” it only takes a few minutes and just $10 to set up. Check it out and see if it’s right for you too.
8. Don’t Get Gouged at 29% APR on Your Credit Card. You Could Get a Low 4.99% APR Instead
If you don’t want to go into your next decade of life with debt looming over you, consider a debt consolidation. In the long run, you’ll save money from not having to continuously pay high-interest.
Debt consolidation just means you’re borrowing money at a low-interest rate and using that money to pay off the outstanding balances from your high-interest credit cards.
If it sounds foreign to you, don’t stress. You can keep your research simple and annoyance-free with Fiona, which is basically a marketplace of consolidation and refinancing options.
It’s free to use and takes only three easy steps to sign up.
Fiona will search all the top online lenders to get you the best personal loan anywhere between $1,000 and $100,0000. And loan lengths can last 24-48 months depending on the lender.
Not only will they help with debt consolidation, but they can also help with any big moment in your life that you may need a personal loan for like Home Improvement, Wedding, Medical bills and more.
9. Just Save Your Emails to Get Money Back (Average Savings $240 a Year)
If you never delete emails like me (unless it’s spam) and shop online, then you’ll always have a chance at getting some money back.
A free tool called Paribus gets you money back on select online purchases even after you’ve bought them.
Price changes happen all the time after checkout. And now you can get a refund of the price difference back at online stores that Paribus monitors! (For example, Target, Kohl’s, GAP, Best Buy, Walmart and more.)
They do this by checking your inbox for email receipts. (Don’t worry, they don’t open any other email and their tech logic only identifies emails that are receipts.) Once they’ve found a receipt that has at least a $3 price drop, they’ll alert you then contact the retailer on your behalf to get the money or tell you how to get the refund back.
Also? If your guaranteed shipment is late from Amazon Prime or Walmart, they’ll help you get compensated! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season when gifts in hand are important.
Your savings mileage will vary but Paribus is 100% free to use and all the savings are yours to keep. Your pair of shoes dropped $7? You get $7 back.
Average savings in a month: $20
What it could add up to in a year: $240
*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.
*OppLoans APR ranges from 59%-199% depending on the state.