Whether you make $150,000 or $40,000 a year, you work hard for your money. A lot of people think the more money you make, the more you can save. But at the end of the day, your ability to save all depends on your expenses. According to 2019 Q1 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a worker in the United States is $47,060 a year. One of the smartest financial moves you can make is to save money where you’re already spending it. Fortunately, we’ve scoured high and low for some of the best money-saving tips for those living on a typical U.S. salary.
Cut Down Your High-Interest Debt First
The first step to saving money is to pay off debts. Sit down and sort through all of your debts including personal loans, auto loans, and credit cards. As you’re sorting, put the debt with the highest interest rate into its own pile. This is the debt you’re going to tackle first. Continue making minimum payments on all debts but allocate the most of your paycheck toward the debt with the highest interest rate. In doing so, you save money on interest and reduce the time it takes to pay off the debt when compared to making only minimum payments.
Do not at any time take on more debt unless absolutely necessary. Once you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate, go back to your pile of debts. Pull out the next debt with the highest interest rate and put it in the highest interest rate pile so you can focus your attention on it. Following this tip doesn’t necessarily help you stash money into a rainy-day fund, but it does allow you to save more money on interest. You can easily save $300 a year by tackling your debt with the highest interest rate first.
Cut Down Your Food Expenses
Americans spend roughly 11% to 15% of their income on food each year. If you can stay around the 11% mark and you earn an average salary, that means your monthly food budget should be right at $431.38. Imagine saving at least 10% of your food budget simply by couponing and taking advantage of sales. That’s a savings of $517.66 a year.
To cut down on your food expenses, try these helpful tips:
- Take a pic of your fridge before heading to the grocery store to avoid buying items you already have
- Use apps to access thousands of free grocery store coupons (Krazy Coupon Lady, Kroger store app, Target’s Cartwheel app, etc.)
- Take advantage of rebates through Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Checkout51
- Use a credit card that pays 5% cash back on grocery purchases (you must pay your balance off in full each month)
Invest in a Keurig
A Keurig adds a ton of convenience to your life and can save you a considerable amount of money when compared to buying coffee at McDonald’s or Starbucks. With the simple press of a button, you can make everything from a delicious dark coffee to a mocha latte.
According to Fox Business, you can save around $456 a year with a Keurig when compared to buying coffee from Starbucks. Even if you get your morning dose of caffeine from McDonald’s, you can save $183 a year with a Keurig. To save even more money (and go green!), use a My K-Cup. You can fill the reusable cup with any coffee of your choice, easily allowing you to double or triple your savings.
Order Water at Restaurants
Restaurants make the most of their profit off of drinks. If you have a family of five and all of you order a soda, you’re looking at spending at least $10 on drinks every time you dine out. If you go out to eat twice a month, that’s $240 a year on sodas. An easy way to avoid this expense is by ordering water. If you don’t like the taste of water, you can always add sweetener and lemon to the water to make lemonade.
Use an Automated Tool
Saving money becomes much easier when someone else is doing it for you. Digit monitors your income and expenditures and uses a complex algorithm to calculate how much money you can save each month. Even better, it automatically switches what you can save from your checking into an FDIC-insured Digit account.
With Qapital, your transactions are rounded to the next dollar and the difference is put into a savings account. Say for example you make a purchase for $4.35. Qapital rounds the transaction up to $5 and puts the difference of 65 cents into a savings account that you can access at any time. If you make two purchases a day, you’re likely to save at least around $400 a year with a tool like Qapital.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t save money on an average salary. We’ve just showed you how to save at least $1,913.66 a year. Over a period of five years, that’s nearly $10,000. Once you get into the habit of making smart money choices, you’ll see just how easy it is to build a comfy savings account.
Bonus Savings Tip:
Get even more savings with First United Bank & Trust’s YouFirst Checking account. This account was designed with the saver in mind – find travel, shopping and dining discounts and get exclusive benefits such as roadside assistance, cell phone protection, ID theft aid and more!