When it comes to learning how to save money, every little bit helps. If you put aside an extra $100 every month, by the end of one year, you'll have an extra $1,200 in cash. That might not sound like much, but it adds up over time. After five years, you'll have an extra $6,000. Or, as Forbes notes, an extra $100 per month can shave more than four years off of a student loan repayment plan.
The trick to keeping that extra money in your account is finding ways to save it. The good news is that it's easier than you think.
Make a Budget
Before you try to stash away that $100 each month, it helps to see if you have an extra $100 to spare. Creating a budget is the first step to saving money. Once you have a budget, you have a clear sense of your earnings, expenses and what you're spending your money on each month. Keep track of earnings and expenses, including those small expenses, for one month. Compare what you're spending to what you earn and adjust your spending accordingly.
Find Ways to Reduce Spending
Now that you have a sense of what you're spending, find ways to reduce your expenses. Since you're only trying to save $100, you can make a series of smaller cuts to reach your goal. You can switch from buying name brand products to buying store brands. Skip going out to dinner and eat more homemade meals. Cutting out lunches, date night and school activities can also help you save.
Other ways to reduce spending include:
- Cutting down on the number monthly subscriptions you have. Do you really need Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime? Choose the one you use the most and cancel the others.
- Get rid of "special treats." Whether it's a massage or manicure at the salon, save these treats for special occasions.
- Look at your transportation expenses. Services like Uber and Lyft are convenient, but they are much more expensive than using public transportation. Car pool with a friend to cut down on the amount you spend on gas.
Make an Extra $100
One way to save an extra $100 is to earn an extra $100. There are a number of ways to do this. Try selling items you own on eBay or have a garage sale. You can also try your hand at babysitting or pet sitting. According to Care.com, the average hourly rate for babysitters is just over $15, which adds up quickly.
Divide Your Savings
If finding ways to save or earn an extra $100 is still a challenge, break the amount up even further. If you get paid weekly, you'll only need to find a way to save $25 from each paycheck. If you're paid twice a month, find a way to set aside $50. Breaking the amount up into a more manageable chunk can help you actually save.
Once you know how to save that extra money, you'll need to find a home for it. Stashing the money in a savings account means it will be safe and sound, and earning interest too.