Child placing money into a savings jar.

Many Americans struggle to save for vacation, gifts, or just to make ends meet. Life is easier if you have a savings account, but how do you save when there is not much fat in your budget.

Track Your Spending

It’s easy to forget where your money is going each month. Bills and monthly obligations can pile up, so keeping a list of essential payments and expenses is important. Start tracking your spending by listing the following.

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare – prescriptions and co-pays

These five are priorities that must be paid each month but you can scale back on some extra luxuries to save big over time.

 
Entertainment

Look for a low-cost way to have fun.

  • Lower your Phone Bill- If you aren’t stuck in a phone contract, Tracfone offers low-priced, high-quality unlimited talk and text for as low as $20 a month.
  • Cut the Cord- Still paying high rates for phone, cable, and internet? You can often switch cable plans at a lower rate with comparable internet speed.
  • Limit Streaming Services- The average American is subscribed to four streaming services, totaling $47. During Vacation season consider reducing down to one or zero subscription services.

 
Food

Try to spend no more than 11% of your take-home pay on food.

  • Shop for generic store brands instead of name-brand items. Many generic versions can be up to 60% cheaper.
  • Ordering Takeout? Order directly from the restaurant to avoid 3rd party fees.
  • Spend Cashback from select Credit Card Programs (such as a Visa Signature Card) on food instead of luxury items.

 
Credit Card Late Fees

Missing payment due date comes with a heavy price.

  • To avoid late fees and protect your credit score, set up automatic payments to pay at least the minimum payment by the due date.
  • If your credit card has a high interest rate, look for one with a lower interest rate. Check out the rates on our Visa Platinum card.

By cutting costs even just a little and putting those savings into an account, you will be able to pay bills with less worry and even save for fun trips or a special gift.