11 Easy Changes To Save You Money Right Now

Apr 17, 2014

No one complains about having too much money in the bank. But when you're finally done punching that clock, not having enough cash when you really need it can hit you where it hurts.

In this spirit, we’ve partnered with Fidelity Investments to bring you 11 simple ways you can start increasing your retirement savings today. Whether it’s cutting back on shower time or shielding yourself from overspending, these small tips will help you keep your bucks in the bank.

  • Designate “No Credit Card” Days
    Just having your credit card in your wallet makes it way more likely that you’ll spend money. But by picking a few days each week to leave your card at home, you’ll have no choice but to use cash for purchases. This simple change in your routine will make you more cognizant of the money you’re spending every day. You’ll think twice before buying something unnecessary, like a second cup of coffee or another T-shirt.
  • Take Advantage Of Your Company’s Benefits
    Look into the benefits your company offers you as an employee and take advantage of as many as possible. Discounted gym memberships, phone bills and insurance plans are often just a click away. Your company makes these perks available for a reason, so it's up to you to actually use them.
  • Make Sure Your Car’s Maintenance Is Up To Date
    Consistently check your car’s tire pressure, brake fluid, oil level and other vitals to help mitigate future -- and, not to mention, expensive -- problems. It’s recommended to check your tire pressure once a week and to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation on how often you should change your oil. The “3,000 mile rule” between oil changes does not apply to most newer car models, so it behooves you to only do this when necessary. In general, frequent check-ups and attention to detail will help keep a few extra bucks in your long-term savings account.
  • Keep A Change Jar
    The loose change you keep in your wallet may not seem like a lot, but don’t underestimate how quickly it can add up. Every night, make it a habit to toss any change you have into a designated savings jar. In a few months, change the coins into bills and deposit the money into your retirement account. Your 70-year-old self will thank you!
  • Once A Week, Set Aside Time To Go Over Your Budget
    Take a quick 30 minutes each week to sit down and consider what you’re spending your hard-earned money buying. Ask yourself: "Are these purchases really necessary?" Can you transfer money from your checking to your savings account each month to help you prepare for the future? Saving just 1 percent more of your salary every month can make a huge difference toward your comfort in retirement.
  • Find Sources Of Free Entertainment Around Your City
    Whether you live in New York City or Omaha, your town is sure to offer plenty of free ways to have fun. You just have to find them! Check out local newspapers or websites at the start of every weekend to discover free film screenings, concerts, lectures and plays that will entertain without draining your wallet.
  • Invest in your health -- today
    Peathegee Inc via Getty Images
    Take a few minutes every day to go on a quick walk. Not only will a brain break help clear your mind, it will also improve your overall health. Walking boosts endorphins, which have been shown to reduce stress hormones and mediate the onset of depression. This, in addition to the cardiovascular benefits of walking, can mean fewer doctor visits -- and a lower health care bill.
  • Use Your Home As A Gym
    Cut down on expensive fitness classes and gym memberships by working out in the comfort of your own home. The average American spends $55 per month on a gym membership. Buy some free weights and use online instructional videos to guide your exercise, all while saving an estimated $660 per year. This small change can help you achieve the goal saving an extra 1 percent of your salary that we mentioned earlier.
  • For Every Day You Pack A Bagged Lunch, Add $7 To Your Retirement Account
    The ease of going out to lunch may tempt you, but consider how quickly this convenience can drain your paycheck. Instead of consistently shelling out cash for a store-bought meal, consider packing a tasty sandwich or boxing up some scrumptious dinner leftovers to bring to work. When you bring your lunch to work, reward your future self by putting $7 (an average price for lunch) into your savings account.
  • Be Conscious Of How Long You’re Taking In The Shower
    Yes, showers are great, but do you really need to be in there for 20 minutes? Probably not. Cutting your shower time to about five minutes can save you up to an estimated $130 per year in water and energy use. Your actual savings will depend on factors like the water flow rate of your showerhead, the local cost of water, the efficiency of your water heater, the local cost of energy, and the heat level of your shower. Your reduced water bill -- and the time you’ll save getting ready in the morning -- will make this small change absolutely worth it.
  • Brew Your Own Coffee
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    A simple cup of coffee can cost you anywhere from $2 to $5, depending on where you get your cup of joe. It may seem like a small price to pay at the time, but that little bit really adds up. If you choose to brew your own coffee in the morning instead, you’ll save upwards of $60 per month or $720 per year. And that’s money you can add to your retirement account right away.