If your goals for 2020 include saving some extra cash, you’re not alone. According to CNBC, roughly 70% of Americans have money-related new year’s resolutions. By learning about simple money saving tips, you’re moving one step closer toward your goal.
But simply having a vague goal to “save money” will most likely not give you the concrete results you want. To increase your chances for success, try taking small, consistent steps toward putting some cash back into your wallet.
Read below for four simple money-saving (and earning) tips for 2020:
Money Saving Tip #1: Do an Audit
We all have our financial-related vices. Do you find yourself making regular trips to Target for essential items like diapers, only to leave with a table lamp and a new pair of yoga pants (for me personally it’s throw pillows)? Or what about those “occasional” Starbucks runs (a $4 scone doesn’t seem like a lot, but over time it can quickly add up). Taking a close look at your monthly budget is critical to identifying where your biggest non-essential spending is happening.
Money Saving Tip #2: Track Your Spending
The good old-fashioned, pen and paper method can be very effective. The nice thing about writing a budget on paper is that you can hang it up in your office, or wherever you spend a lot of time. That way it’s always sitting there as a friendly reminder.
To use the pen and paper method, simply write down all of your expenses, from your house payments to smaller items like dry cleaning. Next, categorize your expenses into either “needs” or “wants.” Then, add up your income and earmark it for your needs first, with leftover money going toward wants.
There are also many online budgeting and platforms and software available. My best advice is to try a couple and see what works for you. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets both offer free budget templates. If you’re a spreadsheet newbie, Microsoft offers free online tutorials, and YouTube also has a large variety of quick tutorials for how to create an effective budget in excel.
Additional (free) budgeting software to check out: BudgetPulse, which is basically a fancier version of excel and GnuCash which can be used for both home and small business-related financial planning. Mint is another popular tool, along with Goodbudget, an online version of the paper envelope budgeting method.
Money Saving Tip #3: Set Realistic Goals
Rather than throwing yourself into spending sequestration, write out some doable savings goals for 2020. For example, instead of denying yourself those latte-runs, allow yourself x amount of money toward self-indulgences. That way, when you go out for a date night or treat yourself for a mani-pedi, you can do so without that pesky feeling of guilt.
Creating designated funds is also a great way to set concrete financial goals and also gives you something to look forward to. For example, you can set aside money each month toward a family vacation, as well as longer-term goals like saving for your kids’ college fund.
Need some help with time management and goal-setting strategies? Check out my new, free mini-course, Five Secrets to Better Work / Life Balance, including free checklists, planners, and to do lists!
Money Saving Tip #4: Start a Side Gig
If you’re really feeling motivated in 2020, a great way to supplement your income is by doing a side hustle. A side gig is basically a job you do in addition to your day job. Whether your full-time job is caring for kids or working outside of the home, the last thing you probably want to do is add another item on your “to do” list. But consider this: if you pick something you’re really passionate and excited about, spending a few extra hours a week on a side hustle will probably leave you feeling more energized than drained.
Side hustles are great because they allow you to safely and gradually “test out” a career interest without sacrificing your income. In other words, you don’t need to quit your day job. And with technology, you can start a side gig right in the comfort of your own home. From bookkeeping to blogging, to being a driver for Lyft, the possibilities are endless!
See related, 30 Scam-Free Side Hustles
Saving and even earning a little extra cash in 2020 is attainable when you take small, concrete steps toward achieving your goals!