Budgeting Strategies to Help You Save More Money By Paula Pant Paula Pant Facebook Twitter Paula Pant is an expert on retirement planning, financial planning, debt management, and budgeting who speaks and writes regularly on personal finance subjects. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a real estate investor with multiple rental properties. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 9, 2021 Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Michael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Vikki Velasquez Fact checked by Vikki Velasquez Vikki Velasquez is a freelance copyeditor and researcher with a degree in Gender Studies. Previously, she conducted in-depth research on social and economic issues such as housing, education, wealth inequality, and the historical legacy of Richmond VA as well as their intersectionality while working for a community leadership nonprofit. Vikki leverages her nonprofit experience to enhance the quality and accuracy of Dotdash's content. learn about our editorial policies In This Article View All In This Article Know That You're Not Alone Create a Plan Cut Back Rethink Necessities Look for Ways to Earn Extra Money Monitor Your Credit Start Saving Money Track Your Income and Expenses Photo: Geber86 / Getty Images Many people would like to save more money, contribute more to retirement, and build a bigger emergency fund, but they may be working with limited funds or little discipline, among other savings challenges. You might find that you're putting off saving money yourself if you’re grappling with a bunch of credit card debt or other obligations that you feel need to be taken care of first. The problem is that if you wait on saving money until every penny of debt is gone, you have lost valuable months and years of investing time and compound interest. The following pointers can help you find ways to squeeze in a few easy savings tricks that will start accumulating money in an almost painless fashion. Know That You're Not Alone In 2019, approximately two in five American adults held revolving credit card debt, according to a survey by the NFCC. Revolving credit card debt isn't referring to using your favorite piece of plastic to ring up a purchase and promptly going home to pay the bill in full. Many people carry a balance month after month and are continually paying interest on that balance. According to the Fed, the average interest rate on credit card debt in May 2021 was 16.3%. If you are among these people holding a balance and paying high interest, just remember that you’re not the only one. The chart below shows the average credit card debt from 2014 through 2019. Create a Plan Don’t just make the minimum payments and hope that your debt will magically disappear. Create some type of plan that allows you to repay your debts. You can either tackle the credit card that has the smallest balance first, or you can repay the balance on the card with the highest interest rate. Cut Back Put yourself on a cash-only diet so that you don’t rack up any additional debt. Cut back on any unnecessary items such as clothing, shoes, furniture, restaurant meals, alcohol, cigarettes, cookies, soda, potato chips, cable television—anything that isn’t strictly necessary. Rethink Necessities Now that you’ve slashed your discretionary items, think a little more deeply about whether your remaining expenses, the so-called necessary expenses, are truly needed. Do you have to spend that much money on gasoline, or could you walk, ride your bicycle, or take the bus more often? Do you need to continue living in your nice home, or could you downsize to a smaller apartment and rent out your current dwelling? Look for Ways to Earn Extra Money If you want to try overcoming your debt by increasing your income, sell some of your older items on eBay or Craigslist. Find a freelance or consulting gig to generate side income. If you're a parent, pick up a few babysitting jobs, ideally ones in which you can bring your children over to the house while you watch someone else’s kids. You’ll be making money for hours spent doing what you'd be doing anyway. Monitor Your Credit Review your credit report to make sure there are no signs of fraud or unauthorized charges. If you see any, contact your credit card issuer to cancel your card and dispute the charges. Sign up for free credit monitoring at a website such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Start Saving Money for Annual Expenses You already know that you’ll need to spend once a year on birthdays, holidays, vacations, higher heating or cooling bills that take place seasonally, and so forth. Begin saving money throughout the year so that you will be ready when these expenses unfold. How can you know how much to save? Figure out what you spend on every given annual event and divide it by 12. For example, if you spend roughly $800 every holiday season on airplane tickets to visit your family as well as a few gifts, divide that $800 by 12. It comes to a total of $66 per month: the amount you'll need to save to be ready for that annual expense. Saving all year long helps keep you from getting caught by surprise when you have to pay those one-time bills. Track Your Income and Expenses One of the best ways to get yourself back on the right path is by carefully tracking your spending. Once you have more breathing room within your budget and you are debt-free, you may not need to be so scrupulous. For the moment, though, you should carefully monitor all of your income and spending so that you know where your money is going. You can curb your impulses on your bigger financial leaks, too. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. NFCC. "2019 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey." The Federal Reserve. "Consumer Credit - G.19."