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If you’re one of the millions of people out there who struggle to grow their savings each month, it’s important to remember that you have options. That is, you can absolutely save money and live better with just a few changes to your daily habits.

After all, seeing those bills roll in can feel completely overwhelming. And you’re not alone in feeling like that, noting that the American Psychological Association found that money is the top cause of stress in the US. 

So it’s hardly surprising that getting your finances under control can have a huge impact on your life. And while you may have first heard of “Save Money. Live Better.” as a Walmart slogan, it’s a quote that actually has meaning for both your financial and overall well being.

If you’re looking to implement this in your life, keep reading for some tips on how you can do just that.

budget sheets

TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES

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How can I save money and live better?

1. Automate savings

Pay yourself first and put money into your savings before anything else. Have a percentage of your paycheck go directly to a savings account.

This way, you never see the money in your bank account. Do not touch the money in your savings account except for emergencies.

2. Use automation apps

Find an app that automatically moves small amounts of money into a savings account. Once you set up the app, you do not have to do anything to save money.

How it works is that if, say, you buy a snack for $2.30, the amount if rounded up and the additional $0.70 is transferred to your savings. The amount is small enough that you should not notice and it allows your savings account to build up quickly, even with these small amounts.

Some banks actually provide this for free, like Bank of America. However, if your bank doesn’t have this, there are plenty of great apps that do the same. My top pick for this is Acorns with the best part of it being, once you hit $5 in rounded up savings, the amount is transferred to an investment account – so you can grow this money even more!

acorns example

Acorns

Ideal for beginner investors

Want to start investing but always think that you don’t have enough money left over each month? Then Acorns is for you.

It automatically rounds up and invests your spare change, making it a great choice for starting to save and build wealth – without even noticing!

3. Buy with cash

Instead of making purchases with a credit or debit card, use cash. This forces you to think about how much money you are spending rather than simply tapping your card and going on with your day.

It is harder to part with cash because you see the amount decreasing. And this can work even better if you combine it with another saving technique, like the 100 envelope challenge.

4. Use a high interest account

Find a bank that offers a higher interest rate for your savings to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck (pun intended). Many of the best ones will be internet banks rather than the traditional brick and mortar ones you may be used to, but as you plan to let your money grow, they can work really well.

In addition, look for banks that offer interest on checking accounts. These are usually money market accounts.

I’d definitely recommend CIT Bank’s Money Market account for this, given it has some of the highest interest rates around.

cit logo

CIT Bank – Money Market Account

Our pick: Best high interest savings account

Why? Well, because it’s got:

  • 1.00% interest (over 11 times higher than the national average)
  • No fees and only a $100 minimum deposit
  • FDIC insured, meaning your money’s safe

5. No bank fees

You can also save money and live better with lower bank fees. After all, your money is in your account to grow in value, not to pay the bank!

This is why, when you’re looking for that high interest savings account I just mentioned, you should also look for a bank that has low or even no fees. Fortunately, one of the reasons I recommend CIT Bank is not only for their high interest rates, but because their accounts have no fees, making them a no-brainer option for keeping your savings.

6. Discounted entertainment

Pay attention to when there are free or discounted days at museums, parks, and theaters. In addition, you can find discounts online. Look for discounts for seniors, veterans, or students, if any apply to you.

You may have to use the discounts at a specific time. However, if you remain flexible, you can find deep discounts. These tips on fun things to do with friends for free can be a great starting point for some ideas on how to do this.

people visiting a museum for free as a way to save money and live better

7. Plan meals

Before you go grocery shopping, plan your meals for the week – these cheap food ideas can help. This includes using what you can that is already in your pantry. Supplement with grocery items.

Write only the items on your grocery list that you need. Do not deviate from your list. This helps prevent you from making impulse purchases.

8. Count coins

Empty your wallet, bags, and pockets at the end of the day. From there, collect any loose coins in a container. You can even get creative with what that container is, which is exactly what a lot of people do when looking for ways to save money without a bank account.

When it is full, take these coins to the bank. You can deposit them all and watch your savings grow.

9. Be picky on when you socialize

While it’s seen as being more standard to go out with friends for dinner, this also happens to be the most expensive meal of the day.

Instead, why not go out during happy hour to take advantage of the more discounted options? Alternatively, instead of going out for dinner, you can go out for lunch or even breakfast. The meals are generally cheaper and you can still enjoy a great meal and a good chat with your friends.

three women drinking coffee together

10. Plan large purchases

Consider the timing of significant purchases. Wait for sales for large purchases, like appliances or furniture (or even get your furniture for free!).

Large items tend to go on sale during specific periods. Therefore, wait for those times of year to make these purchases.

You may also be interested in: 20 Legit Companies That Send You Free Products to Review

11. Online shopping restrictions

It is easy to shop online so try to make it more difficult, so that you have to think about it. Do not have your address and credit card information automatically filled in.

When you take the time to fill in this information, you force yourself to think about your purchase. As a result, you may decide you do not want it and reduce impulse buying.

12. Creative gifts

Buying gifts for people adds up quickly. It is a nice way to let people know how you feel. It does not always have to be something you purchase.

You can make a homemade gift, especially if you are crafty. You can offer babysitting or some other chore around their house as a gift.

(These gifts under $10 for kids can also be a great option.)

budget sheets

MANAGE YOUR MONEY LIKE A BOSS

Managing your money effectively can literally change your life. And starting a budget using our budget planner is the first step towards you doing just that.

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13. Switch plans

Look for lower cell phone plans. Most of us have a cell phone. The plans get expensive quickly.

A great way to save money and live better is to find a different carrier. Find one that offers a better deal than the one you have now, including that you only pay for what you need. That is, a lot of us pay for more data than we actually use, especially given we’re on Wi-Fi for most of the day, so buying less data or less minutes over time can really add up.

This is why I always prefer a prepaid carrier rather than getting stuck on a long term contract that I don’t necessarily need. Republic Wireless is easily one of the cheapest options for this, giving you the flexibility to only spend exactly what you’re going to use.

republic wireless logo

Republic Wireless

Our pick: Best prepaid phone plans
  • Prepaid plans from $15/month with unlimited talk and text
  • Zero sign on or termination fees – and cancel whenever you want
  • Save over $1,000 compared to standard phone contracts

14. Make bundles

Cable is expensive. Try to create a bundle with your cable and internet to save money.

While you are bundling, do some shopping. You can save a significant amount of money by switching carriers.

15. Energy usage

Making small changes can significantly decrease your energy bill – and putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat hardly means you’re living stingy. For example, try changing the temperature in your house by a few degrees.

Unplug appliances that are not being used. Change lightbulbs to ones that use less energy. Install dimmer switches.

16. Cancel subscriptions

If you have any subscriptions that you are not using, cancel them. This includes streaming services, magazines, and subscription boxes.

Sure, it may take a bit of effort to call them up and get through to the cancelation department. But doing this can really save you a lot of money over time.

That said, I hate phone calls as much as you do and the idea of jumping through those hoops is exhausting enough. If that also sounds like you, you could consider using a service like Trim. It’s like a robot that will automatically examine your bills and recommend ways to cut costs, including either canceling or renegotiating your bills on your behalf.

Get a free 14-day Trim trial here to see how much Trim can automatically save you on your bills.

17. Workout for free

If you are not going to the gym, cancel the membership. If you have not been in six months, chances are you will not go. So stop fooling yourself and save the money.

You can take advantage of exercise options that are free, with plenty of YouTube videos available these days with a huge range of workout routines. In addition, there are apps you can use in place of the gym that are either free or very cheap, while still allowing you to get fit.

woman doing free yoga in a park as a way to save money and live better

18. Refinance your mortgage

Getting a lower interest rate on your mortgage could save you hundreds of dollars each month. And one way to do this is by refinancing your mortgage, which is a great way to get a lower interest rate.

To get free, personalized suggestions on your mortgage refinancing in just three minutes, check out Credible. You’ll be shown actual rates from a range of lenders to save you time and potentially thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

19. Track your spending

The best way to know how much you spend each month is to track it. You may have no idea where all your money is going until you see it on paper.

This is a great way to see where you can change your spending habits, especially if you’ve set yourself a target like saving $10,00 in a year. That’s around $833 a month, so tracking your spending allows you to see just where you can make enough cuts to hit that amount.

20. Create a budget

After you track your spending, create a budget for yourself. Set goals and budget should focus on them.

This includes how much you save, put towards bills, and spend. Once you create it, stick to it. Living on a budget can be one of the best ways to establish the habits to get your money management under control.

21. Start saving

Determine what your savings goals are. They can be saved for retirement, reduce debt, or pay off credit cards.

Perhaps it is all three. No matter what they are, create realistic goals. You want goals that you can actually achieve.

woman saving money in a piggy bank

22. Lower insurance

Insurance is something you pay for but hope to never use. It is also expensive.

This is why, when renewal time rolls around, don’t just pay the renewal fee and go about your day. Instead, shop around to see if you can find lower premiums with the same amount of coverage. It is possible although it may take some work, but can definitely be worth it based on the savings you’ll get.

23. Use the library

Books are a great way to educate and escape. They are also expensive. You can save money and live better by using the library.

Instead of buying books, visit your local library or download digital books. You can save a lot of money by going to the library.

(Or as an alternative, you can even get free books mailed to your home!)

24. Repair instead of replacing

We have become a throw-away society. Instead of throwing items away, try to repair them. This can be a great money saving strategy no matter if it is clothes, appliances, or anything else. In fact, doing this when it comes to clothes can be a great strategy for anyone looking to be fashionable on a budget.

Do not go out and buy a new version of whatever is broken. First, try to fix whatever it is. The internet provides a wealth of resources to help.

Related: 12 Simple Ways To Get Free Shoes Sent To Your Door

25. Find the best rates

Instead of being loyal to one bank or credit card, shop around. Credit cards are always offering introductory rates. Find a better one.

You can even transfer the balance from one card to another. This gives you a lower finance rate to pay off the balance faster.

woman talking on phone looking at documents

26. Buy in bulk

When you meal plan every week, you know what food you need. Then, you can buy food in bulk. Food is cheaper in bulk.

Do not stop at food; buy non-perishables in bulk when you can. Once you get into the habit, it is an easy way to save money and live better. However, be careful only to buy what you will use.

For some tips on what you can make with ingredients that are available in bulk, check out our list of frugal meal ideas.

27. Coffee at home

Coffee is essential to me, and probably to you. However, that does not mean you need to visit a (pricey!) coffee house.

Make coffee at home and save. Buy a quality coffee maker. You will get used to the taste, especially when you see your savings.

28. One income

If you are a two person household, do your best to live on one income and save the other paycheck. Counting on only one income is a very quick way to save money and live better.

This also allows you to save a large portion of the money. If something happens and one income stops, you are already used to just one.

29. Use envelopes

Create an envelope for each bill you have. Each month, put the money for that bill in the envelope. Include an envelope for savings.

Anything that is left can go into a spending envelope. Once the money in the spending envelope is gone, you have no more money to spend that month. You can visually see what you have to spend.

couple using the envelope budgeting method

30. Buy plus save

You want to allow yourself some room to splurge on items. However, when you do, put that same amount in your savings account.

If you spend $20 on an item, put $20 into savings. This allows you to make the purchases you want while continuing to save money.

31. Unsubscribe

You probably get several emails throughout the day from retailers enticing you to buy something. Unsubscribe to those emails.

If you do not get these emails, you will not be lulled into an impulse buy. When you go to a website, it will be with intention. This helps limit excess spending you do not intend to make.

32. Pay credit cards

Whenever you use your credit cards, pay them off each month. That way, you won’t be paying interest on your purchases – which is basically equivalent to throwing money away

To save money and live better, do not carry a balance on your credit cards. High interest debt is a killer to any money management plan and every month you carry a balance from months before, you are paying even more interest. If this sounds like you, getting rid of this should be your priority.

33. Reduce debt

If you cannot pay off your credit cards each month, stop using them. You want to pay them down as quickly as you can. This helps free up money each month.

If you cannot afford to pay the credit card at the end of the month, you should rethink your purchases. You could save all of the money you pay towards your credit cards each month.

man working on laptop

34. Auto pay

Another way to save money and live better is to set up auto pay. When your bills are on auto pay, you do not have to worry about late fees.

You also know your bills will be paid on time each month. This reduces fees and negative impacts on your credit score.

Ideally, you should set up your billing periods so that bills are paid just after you receive your paycheck each month. That way, all your ongoing expenses will be taken care of, meaning the amount that’s left over is what you have to spend for the month.

35. Volunteer

Consider volunteering at events and festivals. This allows you to get into them for free.

You can participate in the event that is happening while providing a service. This is a great way to enjoy events without having to pay for them.

36. Plan for gifts

While I suggested making homemade gifts for people, it is always possible. Sometimes, you need to purchase a gift. If you can, plan for the gift.

This allows you to save money and live better. For example, if you know what you want to buy, you can wait for a sale. You can also save up the cash to pay for this instead of using a credit card or take advantage of an Amazon gift card deal to get free credit to buy the item online.

37. Quality purchasing

You may want to purchase cheap items to save money and live better. That is not always ideal. Quality items often last longer.

You want to consider spending a little more money, especially if you want to use it for a long time. If you have children, spending more money on clothes allows siblings to share clothes.

woman holding shopping bags

38. Day for no spending

Select one day each week where you and your family spend no money. This means no spending at all. If there is a bill due on this date, pay it on another day.

There should be no money leaving any of your accounts. When you are able to do this one day a week, perhaps try two. Or check out one of these other no-spend challenges for some other ways to cut your spending in this way!

39. Reduce eating out

When you want to save money and live better, limit the number of times you eat out. Make it special. Choose to eat out once or twice a month only.

Wait until the weekend and eat out one night as a special treat. You will be amazed at the amount of money this saves.

40. Drink water

When you do eat out, opt to drink water. Drinks at restaurants are marked up and expensive.

You can save money and calories by sticking to water only – and, ideally, bringing it with you from home in a reusable water bottle. In addition, it helps to keep your body and bank account hydrated.

41. Double when cooking

When cooking at home, double the recipe. This helps you save and live better. You can buy ingredients in bulk, which is cheaper.

This also gives you leftovers. It can help with meal planning while preventing you from eating out. When you are hungry, there will be something available.

people cutting vegetables

42. Shop generic

Consider shopping for generic or store brand items. Most of the time, they are just as good as the name brand.

Over the counter, store brand medications have the same ingredients as brand names. Buying generic items is a great tip to save money and live better.

43. Less water

When you are home, use less water. This means reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower (although I wouldn’t recommend living so cheap that your hygiene is at risk…). Install showerheads that are low flow or combine loads of laundry together to save water.

Be sure you turn off the faucet when you are not actively using water. For example, do this while brushing your teeth or washing a dish.

44. Weatherproof

Weatherproofing your home is another tip to save money. Cracks and holes in your home are a great way for heat and air conditioning to escape.

Fill in those holes and cracks to save money and live better. The materials are expensive and easy to find at a hardware store.

45. Reduce gas

Reduce the number of trips you take in your car. If you have errands to run, do them all on the same day. Try to map out your route, so it is the most effective.

These tips can help reduce the amount of gas you use. This reduces how often you fill up your tank and spend money on gas.

46. Coupons

We all know someone that has saved a ton of money with coupons. You can, too. Simply look for coupons and use them.

Utilizing coupons is an excellent way to save money and live better, especially on those household staples. If you want to become a major coupon consumer, there are websites that can help you.

47. Rewards programs

If you frequently shop somewhere, see if they have a rewards program. This helps you earn points and discounts when you shop. 

To be clear, I don’t mean that you should buy things just to earn rewards points. However, if you are going to shop somewhere anyway, you should get any discount you can.

48. Pack lunch

If you buy lunch every workday, you should pack your lunch instead.

If lunch costs you $10 per day, that is $50 per week and $200 per month you could save. It is healthier for you, too

49. Have budget-friendly holidays and events

As soon as we start to get near the holiday season, you’re bombarded with ads that make it seem like you have to spend a fortune to enjoy the occasion. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, what most people remember from the holidays are the good feeling they have, not that overpriced table centerpiece or all those extra decorations you bought, so focus on what’s important at those times of year.

Similarly, while events can be important in your life, it’s also important to not go into debt for them. For this reason, really consider what you can’t live without as well as how you can probably do without all those extras surrounding an event. As an example, take a look at our article on planning a quinceanera on a budget, with many of the tips being able to be applied to other events too.

50. Sell stuff

If you have items hanging around your house that you do not want, sell them. This is not a way to save money. Instead, it is a way to put more money into your account.

Not only does this get rid of items you no longer need, but it also clears up clutter in your house. In addition, you can easily sell items online without spending any money.

What does it mean by “Save Money Live Better”?

“Save Money. Live Better” may be best known as a Walmart slogan that launched in 2007, with the meaning that shopping at Walmart is cheaper than its competitors. That may or may not be true, but it’s definitely the case that saving money can help you live better by allowing you to take control of your finances.

That is, many of us live with debt and little savings. This has been proven to cause feelings of anxiety and stress, especially if you get to the end of the month and find that you have no money. Consequently, it’s clear that the best way to resolve these feelings is to reduce debt, save money to create a cushion and live a better, stress-free life.

And this isn’t even a case of it being easier said than done, with there being a number of ways to save money each month. They may require some sacrifices but are worth it. 

Notably, reducing debt and saving money requires consistent action on your part. You have to change habits and behaviors to spend less and save more, which often requires a mindset change, to one that is focused on saving and not spending. While that may sound tough at first, it’s safe to say that the results are more than worth it.

budget sheets

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.