This article originally appeared on the Springs "You're Home Blog."
Experts recommend maintaining an emergency fund to cover unplanned expenses, but nearly one-third of Americans have no savings account. Are you having trouble finding money to put aside for a rainy day?
Changing your approach might make the difference. You don't need to have huge chunks of disposable income to put away. Implementing these simple money-saving tips in your daily lifestyle can result in hundreds and even thousands of extra dollars per year.
1. Pack a Lunch
Even if you stick with fast food, buying lunch every day can run at least $25 to $35 a week. Bringing a lunch from home reduces that amount significantly, and it's healthier as well.
2. Make Friends with Your Library
Libraries were a great resource even when books were all they had. Today you can check out DVDs and CDs along with hard-copy and e-books. Save more by taking advantage of book clubs, computer and tech training, financial seminars, movie screenings and other classes and events.
3. Cut the Cable
This suggestion may strike fear in your heart, but it's not as painful as it sounds. Services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and network websites offer streaming, so there are a number of alternate sources for viewing any movie or TV show you like.
4. Use DIY Household Products
You may not think twice about the money you spend on cleaning products or health and beauty aids, but this is a prime opportunity for saving. Google puts an endless number of recipes for these items at your fingertips. Pinterest is another good source. As a bonus, DIY products are eco-friendly, so you save the environment along with cash.
5. Sell Your "Junk"
One man's trash is another man's treasure, so use eBay and craigslist to reduce clutter and put some bucks in your pocket. Both new and gently used items are candidates for online sales.
6. Cancel Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions
With so much content available online, there's no real need to maintain hard-copy subscriptions. And be honest: how many issues did you really manage to read anyway?
7. Enjoy No-Frills Entertainment
Entertainment doesn't have to mean dinner at an expensive restaurant, a pricey night at a club or high-priced theater tickets. These activities are fine every now and then, but why not enjoy the inexpensive fun of hiking, visiting museums, book clubs, street fairs or poetry readings? You can usually find online calendars of free events for your city, and our Springs management teams schedule a number of community events throughout the year where you can meet and get to know your neighbors.
Are you putting money aside for a special treat like a dream vacation? Share your ideas with us in the comments!