How's your emergency fund? Probably not as big as you would like.
But with 9 simple money hacks, you could save up that $1,000 emergency fund, and even more. And the best part: you may never even notice it.
Two women share great advice
Melissa Jordan is an associate for an insurance agency in Clermont County, Ohio. Alex Singleton is a mom of school age kids, in the Village of Greenhills.
What do these women have in common? They both are experts at saving a few bucks every day.
So they agreed to share their best money "hacks," to help you save money with no pain.
1. Save your spare change: Jordan says whenever she breaks a dollar, anywhere, she takes the change and puts it in a jar, at her office or at home.
"After a while, I have enough to fill the jar," she said, "and that becomes my vacation money. I keep all my change, and I never spend any of it.
For a more high-tech version, try the smartphone app Acorns.com. It rounds up purchases you make on your phone (such as your daily Starbucks fix, or Amazon purchases), and then saves the change for you in an investment account.
2. Join the "$5 Savings Club" (or "$5 Savings Challenge)", made popular on Pinterest.
It's a turbocharged version of saving your pocket change. Every time you get a $5 bill, you tuck it away, for even bigger savings.
3. Hide your raise, which Melissa Jordan has done two years in a row.
"Whenever I get a raise, I pretend like I never got it," she said. "I just take whatever the amount of my raise was, and take it right out of my check and put it into my savings."
The savings were stunning, she says. "That's an extra $2,000 I am saving every year."
Busy mom Alex Singleton has some other great hacks, starting with:
4. Join a prescription rewards program, at a drugstore like Walgreens, or your grocery store.
"I've saved about $900 this way," she said, referring to Meijer's prescription savings program.
For Singleton, every new prescription means cash to spend on groceries.
"I pay $10 for the medication and get a $20 coupon back on your next purchase to use at Meijer," she said. Even refills give her $10 to spend.
5. Download one rebate app onto your phone.
Check our-our report from a few weeks back about the best cash back grocery apps.
"Ibotta is a life saver for me. I love it," Singleton said. With Ibotta, you scan your receipts, then earn cash back for certain items, giving her an extra $25 a month, or $300 a year.
Other simple-to-achieve hacks:
6. Downsize your latte to a regular coffee, saving $2 a day, or $600 a year.
7. Brown bag your lunch 3 days a week, saving $20 a week, or $800 a year.
8: Drink tap water, not bottled water: One bottle of water, or soft drink, from a convenience store, adds up to $500 a year.
Singleton and Jordan have just shown you how to save over $2,000 a year.
Too much effort? Then start start small, with those dimes, nickels, and quarters. "The last time I did that for one year," Jordan said, "I made $250 at the end for my vacation."
9: don't give up after a month, like most New Year's resolutions.
That way you don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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