NEW YORK (AP) – Cheers, friends! It’s a new year. Time to set some well-intentioned — but typically doomed — resolutions.
Lose 20 pounds. Read 50 books. Save USD5,000.
Those big resolutions are sexy. They sound impressive when you tell friends. They’re also unlikely to last past Groundhog Day.
This year, ditch the lofty goals and focus on simple money-saving moves you can handle while nursing last night’s hangover. These quick changes take less than 30 minutes each and can help you hit your goal without cramping your style.
Save the change, automatically
Connect your bank account to an app like Qapital or Acorns to round up each transaction.
Spend USD12.50 on an Uber ride, for example, and the app rounds up to USD13, putting the extra 50 cents into a savings or investment account. The change adds up quickly, said founder and financial adviser at TK Pacific Wealth Inc in Del Mar, California Tim Kenney.
“I have a client who started this in the middle of (2018) and has almost USD2,000 saved already,” he says.
You can also tell Qapital to save a set amount every time you spend on a splurge, like Postmates delivery.
Up your APY
Do you have money saved at a brick-and-mortar bank? Move it to an online savings account. Your annual percentage yield, or APY — the money your money earns — will increase from 0.09 per cent (the United States national average at traditional banks) to over two per cent.
Here’s what that looks like:
– USD1,000 saved in a traditional account earning 0.09 per cent will earn USD1 a year.
– USD1,000 saved in a high-yield savings account earning two per cent will earn USD21 a year.
The more money you set aside, the more interest you could earn.
Get cash back
Sign up for a credit card that pays you back. Pick one that gives you cash back for specific purchases (gas and groceries, anyone?) or a general card that rewards you for all your purchases.
Don’t want a credit card (or can’t qualify for a rewards card)? Try an app that gives you cash back at specific merchants. Honey, a browser extension, finds coupon codes and on some purchases, you can earn rewards, which can be redeemed for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Target and Sephora.
Cancel dormant subscriptions
Netflix. Hulu. HBO Go. Spotify. ESPN Plus. Birchbox. Stitch Fix. Blue Apron. Those monthly fees add up — big time.
Do an audit of your subscriptions, cancel the ones you forgot you had, keep the ones you can’t live without and consolidate with a roommate/partner/family member where you can.
Save USD120 in 2019 by cancelling your Spotify subscription and going with the free version. Save an additional USD60 by ditching ESPN Plus, because your fantasy football team tanked in the playoffs — again.
“The amount can seem very little, but the amount isn’t the point,” said financial adviser at Lauterbach Financial Advisors in El Paso, Texas Miguel Gomez. “The point is being mindful about what you’re spending.”
And that builds good habits that will help you save even more money over time.