Ways to Save Money in 2023
Wendy Kedzierski
January 3, 2023 — Read in 4.4 mins · 888 words

Even if you’re looking at a gloomy U.S. economic forecast, there are ways to get your finances in order. Don’t get discouraged by news of inflation and interest rates. 2023 can be your year to develop good spending and saving habits. Here are some effective ways to get your finances on the right track.

Ways to budget

There are many budgeting philosophies. The 70/20/10 budget can help you manage your finances by using 70 percent of your income for monthly expenses, 20 percent for savings and investments (emergency fund, 529 college savings plans, stocks/bonds, etc.), and 10 percent for debts or donations.

There’s also a 50/30/20 budget plan. In this plan you’ll dedicate 50 percent of your after-tax income to necessities, 30 percent to wants, and 20 percent to savings and debts. 

But before you can commit to a plan, you’ll need to understand your spending habits.

Learn your spending habits by keeping track of receipts for a month or two. Categorize these at the end of the month into restaurants, entertainment, groceries, and personal care. Some banks and credit cards offer this service for free.

While most monthly bills are somewhat static (cell phone, insurance, utilities, rent/mortgage), you’ll need to get a better understanding of your other spending habits. Once you see where your money is going, you can plan how to cut back. 

Ways to Save

Maximize employer matches. When money is taken out of your pay and put in a savings account before you ever see it, you won’t miss it as much. Don’t leave money on the table by not taking advantage of all your employer offers.

Save all your unexpected windfalls like cash back rewards, work bonuses, tax refunds, inheritance. This “found money” can really bolster a savings account.

Save your pennies. And nickels, dimes, quarters. Literally. Periodically cash in this extra change and then deposit into your savings.

Avoid temptation. You know which companies you can’t resist. Unsubscribe from marketing emails that lure you into buying unnecessary purchases.

Study your credit card bills and evaluate all your subscription services and memberships. You can probably ditch some of these for monthly or annual savings.

Ask for lower credit card fees. Research shows that you have a 90 percent chance of success!

Challenge yourself to a savings game. Look online for ideas like the 52-week money challenge where you deposit $1 the first week, $2 the second, all the way up to $52 in week 52. At the end of the year, you will have an additional $1,378 in savings.  

Brown bag your lunches. This will discourage wasted eating-out money and may help your waistline, too!

Raid your pantry during a no-grocery week/month. Eat what you have before buying more!

Section out your refrigerator and include an “eat me first” section for things that need to be eaten before they spoil.

See if refinancing your mortgage makes sense. If it does, put the difference in your payments into a high-yield savings account.

Ways to Spend

Research which cash-back credit card will work best for you. Some credit cards work well for travelers, some for diners, etc. Online resources like www.nerdwallet.com and www.cardrates.com can help you choose.

Make your shopping list and then cut relevant coupons and buy equivalent store brands (which can save you as much as 25 percent per item). In-store flyers, digital coupons, special markdowns — challenging yourself to get the biggest bang for your buck can be fun, but make sure you stick to your list.

Can’t resist in-store impulse buys? The COVID pandemic introduced us to the concept of ordering online and then picking up your groceries. Many stores continue to offer a scheduled grocery pickup – just make sure the service is free. Grocery shopping this way ensures you stick to your list.

Buy used. Visiting thrift stores and paying attention to online shopping through sites like Facebook Marketplace, thredUP, and Poshmark can save you a lot of money. You can also make some money through these venues by selling your own used items.

Delay nonessential purchases and stop impulse buying. If you are shopping online, don’t purchase your items right away. Revisit your cart two weeks to a month later. You may not feel as passionate about certain items and can remove them from your cart.

When making an unnecessary purchase, think about your hourly wage and how many hours it would take for you to earn enough for that purchase. Is it worth it?

Entertainment Savings

Look online for free admission days to national parks and libraries, and mark your calendar.

Download a library app. You can get thousands of e- and audio books for free this way.

Travel during the off season. Flights are cheaper. Hotels are cheaper. Added bonus: fewer people to contend with!

If you are short on vacation budget but long to travel somewhere, check out www.housecarers.com and www.mindmyhouse.com. These services match house/pet sitters with jobs. This could be a great way to get cheap lodging in a new region that you can then explore.

If you need serious, additional help getting a handle on your finances, consumer counseling credit services offer credit and debt counseling, debt management plans, and debt consolidation loans. American Consumer Credit Counseling is a nonprofit organization that can help.

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