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Money Saving

Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide can help you develop a simple and realistic strategy, so that you can save for all your short- and long-term goals.

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Now that you know what you spend in a month, you can begin to create a budget. Your budget should show what your expenses are relative to your income, so that you can plan your spending and limit overspending. Be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance. Include a savings category in your budget and aim to save an amount that initially feels comfortable to you. Plan on eventually increasing your savings by up to 15 to 20 percent of your income.

Review your budget and check your progress every month. That will help you not only stick to your personal savings plan, but also identify and fix problems quickly. Understanding how to save money may even inspire you to find more ways to save and hit your goals faster.

When you switch to energy-efficient lighting, you can light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. if you are still using incandescent light bulbs, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR.

If you have outdoor lighting that is left on for a long time, using LEDs or CFLs in these fixtures can save a lot of energy. LEDs and CFLs are available as flood lights, and have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures. For high quality products with the greatest savings, look for ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.

The cost of LED light bulbs has decreased dramatically since they entered the market and prices are expected to come down further as more products become available. While LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.

The good news is, there are plenty of straightforward ways to save money and breathe some fresh air (and fresh cash) into your budget. Here are 23 money-saving tips to help you tweak your spending and get on the fast track to saving money in no time.

No, really. Did you know people save an average of $700 when they have an Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) check their insurance rates for them? $700! You owe it to yourself to at least have them look things over for you and see what savings they can dig up.

When your goal is to save money, a vacation is possibly the worst thing you could spend your money on. Instead of whisking your family off to the Greek Isles, try being a tourist in your own city. Not only will this save you hundreds (or potentially thousands) of dollars, but you can also explore your neighborhood with fresh eyes and have some fun while doing it.

If you're trying to save money through budgeting but still carrying a large debt burden, start with the debt. Not convinced? Add up how much you spend servicing your debt each month, and you'll quickly see. Once you're free from paying interest on your debt, that money can easily be put into savings. A personal line of credit is just one option for consolidating debt so you can better pay it off.

One of the best ways to save money is by visualizing what you are saving for. If you need motivation, set saving targets along with a timeline to make it easier to save. Want to buy a house in three years with a 20 percent down payment? Now you have a target and know what you will need to save each month to achieve your goal. Use Regions savings calculators to make your goal!

Lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10F can save you between 3-5 percent in energy costs. And installing an on-demand or tankless water heater can deliver up to 30 percent savings compared with a standard storage tank water heater.

An obvious money-saving tip is finding everyday savings. If buying lunch at work costs $7, but bringing lunch from home costs only $2, then over the course of a year, you can create a $1250 emergency fund or make a significant contribution to a college plan or retirement fund.

For most of us, keeping your savings separate from your checking account helps reduce the tendency to borrow from savings from time to time. If your goals are more long-term, consider products with higher yield rates like a Regions CD or Regions Money Market account for even better savings.

You might be financially eligible for a Medicare savings program that can help you save on copays and premiums. Specialists in our Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) can talk to you about whether you qualify and help you sign up. Certified counselors are also available to answer your questions, and during Open Enrollment, help with a free, unbiased assessment of your prescription drug plan (s) to see if it still fits your needs. New to Medicare? They can help with that, too: 800-803-7174.

Restaurants, parks, movie theaters, fitness centers, museums, pharmacies, colleges, universities, auto shops and perhaps even your local grocery store may offer discounts. Becoming a member of AARP can also save you money on services and goods.

We can help you save energy and increase comfort, whether you're looking to improve the efficiency of your current home or apartment, build a new home project, or connect to savings and rebates on efficient products.

We're here to help you use the latest energy-saving technology. We have solutions for solar energy, electric vehicles and charging stations, and information on how we're helping to create a sustainable future for New England.

Energy-saving measures through the Energy Savings Assistance Program can include replacing your refrigerator, repairing or replacing your furnace or water heater* and installing insulation, weatherproofing, energy-efficient light bulbs, caulking, low-flow showerheads and more.

Found everywhere from Pinterest to personal finance blogs, money-saving challenges encourage spenders to become savers by economizing in creative ways. "The primary problem that keeps people from starting to save money is not that they don't know where to find money to save. Rather, it's their mindset around money. It is having thoughts like, 'I'm never going to be able to save enough money or earn enough to make a difference,'" says Nev Harris, a financial coach in Pittsburgh.

This classic savings challenge existed long before people were posting money-saving challenges on social media. It's simple: Decide that you're going to save $1 a week or $2 or $5. A manageable amount is key. If you save $10 a week, for example, you'll have an extra $520 at the end of the year.

You can get more creative with the 52-week savings challenge, too. Some people will save $1 a week during the first week, $2 a week the second, $3 the third week, and by the 52nd week, they're putting away $52 a week. If you did that, you'd have $1,378 by the end of the year.

This is a good money-saving challenge for the times, and it's a subset of the no-spend challenge. The pantry challenge is a contest in which you commit to not buying any food until you've exhausted all the possibilities from your refrigerator and pantry. You bought those artichoke hearts and that coconut oil for a reason, even if you can't remember the reason, right? As long as the food is not expired, this is your chance to consume what you've already bought and save money for a few days or weeks.

You could also do this spare-change challenge in a more modern way and download an app like Acorns. Any time you make a purchase, Acorns will round up the total, take that money and invest the spare change into a diversified investment portfolio. Acorns charges fees that start at $3 a month.

This idea has been around for decades. Many credit unions offer holiday interest-bearing savings accounts, to which you contribute $5 or $10 or another amount each week, every week, and then when December arrives, you have money for the holidays.

In this challenge, you save money in 5-cent increments. Most checking accounts won't allow you to transfer 5 cents from one account to another, and so it's likely going to be a savings challenge that involves cash. But on the first day, you put a nickel in a jar or some sort of container, and you are done.

Here's how it works: Every Wednesday, you put money in your bank account, and you tie it to whatever the highest temperature is in your state or town. This means in the summer you will probably be saving more than in the winter. So if in August the mercury is pushing 110 degrees on a Wednesday, you put $110 into your savings account. If it's the dead of winter and only 17 degrees, you only have to save $17.

If it's -3 degrees, you could arguably take out three bucks or put nothing in. In any case, with 52 weeks out of the year, by the end of this money-saving challenge, you should end up with several thousand dollars in your account.

For example, if you spend money on a streaming service that costs $10 a month, drop it, and you've saved $120 of your $800. Maybe you can call your insurance and report your teenage daughter's good grades and get your premium lowered, and you save $100, and so on.

Overall, the researchers found that people whose self-reported savings goals were a good fit for their personality traits had a bigger nest egg, on average. The effect held true across both poorer and wealthier participants. Not surprisingly, people who earned more money had more savings, on average, but personality-goal fit explained about 5% of the variance in savings amount across all income levels.

Next, the researchers conducted an experiment with 6,056 participants, all of whom were taking part in a savings incentive program through a nonprofit savings app called SaverLife. Participants in the study had less than $100 in savings when they joined the program and were given the goal of saving at least $100 more in one month. 041b061a72


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