Save more money in 2024 with these 3 strategies

Save more money in 2024 with these 3 strategies

A lot about money is mental.

I have worked with people who there is literally no extra dollar in their budget to spare.

Then there are people who are convinced of themselves, who are assertive that they “cannot be saved.”

But the moment I delve into their budget – with bank statements to back up their memories – I see that they suffer from what I call unconscious spending syndrome.

They withdraw money from the ATM but can’t remember how they spent it. They say they don’t eat a lot, but their credit card statements show otherwise. Wants are designated as needs.

If this is you, here are three strategies to overcome the mental block that keeps you from saving.

The 52 week savings challenge

How does having more than $1,300 in savings at the end of the year sound?

Here’s how this money challenge works. Each week, you save an amount equal to the week of the year.

Although we are almost at the end of January, you can catch up easily. You start by putting in just $1 in the first week of 2024. Then $2 in two weeks, $3 in three weeks, and so on.

I like this challenge, which I have recommended in previous years, because it imposes discipline. People are more likely to quit then they spend if they want to reach their weekly goals.

Whether you’re paid once a month or every two weeks, stick to the schedule by electronically transferring deposits to a dedicated high-yield checking or savings account.

You don’t want bank fees to eat away at your savings, so look for a financial institution that doesn’t charge monthly fees. To find a list of banks with no-fee checking accounts, go to Bankrate.com and search for “Best checking accounts for January 2024” and “Best savings accounts for January 2024.” The list is regularly updated.

Credit unions are a good option; NerdWallet ranks the top five in 2024.

Here are some ways to earn more money as the weekly goal increases.

  • Have coffee and lunch. Instead of going out, opt for homemade. Depending on your average spending, this may be enough to meet some of your savings goals later in the year.
  • Save your changes. Whenever you use money, keep coins and bills that you can get back.
  • Temporary suspend streaming services. Your favorite shows will still be there to watch when you join again. Need an escape? Take time to read. An Economist/YouGov poll found that nearly half of Americans read zero books in the past year. If you can’t go to a public library, you can download – for free – e-books and audiobooks.

Why Does My Latte Cost So Much?

If you can afford it all year, you’ll save $1,378. That’s a great emergency fund.

For many people, it gets harder as you get closer to the end of the year when your weekly deposits become larger. However, don’t give up. Save what you can. If you can’t afford a higher amount, set your own goal. Maybe you can save as little as $2 a week. The important thing is to develop a habit of saving whatever you can afford.

“Every year, the average American family of four loses $1,500 due to inedible food,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

In my experience, many people can see savings if they cut back on overspending at the supermarket.

You open the refrigerator or cabinets, and even though there is food in there, you say, “There is nothing to eat.”

You mean, you don’t want to eat anything.

Try it as part of a 52-week challenge: Eat all the food in your house before you shop again. And I mean everything. Don’t go to the grocery store except to buy perishable items like eggs, milk and bread.

Make an inventory of what you have and search online for recipes for what’s on your list. Be creative. Do you have lots of canned beans and diced tomatoes? I found a really easy vegetarian chili on allrecipes.com.

5 ways to save money cooking at home when the budget is tight

This is a fast that I developed as the director of the financial ministry of my church (I even wrote a book of the same name). Here’s how it works.

For three weeks, you can’t buy anything you don’t need. You can’t eat out. You can’t go to the movies. You can never shop as a form of entertainment. Don’t browse your favorite online shopping sites.

The goal of the 21-day financial fast is to stop mindless spending. You will also not receive the expenses for you. For example, a friend might want to treat you to a movie or dinner.

No, it is not allowed to fast.

Because I want you to develop a habit of finding ways to enjoy yourself without spending a fortune.

It is not unusual for people who fast to realize that they are spending hundreds of dollars on eating out each month. A mother and son documented their fasting journey last year on YouTube (Q & A Intro: Financial Fast Day 1 of 21).

If you want more timeless personal finance advice, order your copy of Money Milestones by Michelle Singletary.

During the fast, you will pay your bills as usual. Of course, you can get your prescriptions and buy only the food you need.

If you want to cure your unconscious spending syndrome, try all or at least one of these strategies. Let me know how it goes. Send me a message at X, formerly known as Twitter (@SingletaryM) or at [email protected].

BOM – Michelle Singletary’s best in personal finance

If you have a personal finance question for Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, please call 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).

My debt repayment story: My husband and I paid off the house in the spring of 2023 thanks to making additional payments and taking advantage of a mortgage recast. Although it lowered my perfect 850 credit score and my column about it sparked some serious debate with readers, it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made.

Credit card debt: If you’re in the habit of carrying credit card debt, stop. It’s just a myth that it can improve your credit score. For those looking to get out of credit card debt, see if a balance transfer is right for you.

Money works for life: For a more detailed look at my timeless money advice, check out Money Milestones by Michelle Singletary. The interactive package offers guidance for every stage of life, whether you’re just starting your career or planning for retirement.

Try it yourself: Do you know where you stand financially? Take our quiz and read more personal finance advice.

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