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Does your wallet feel a little lighter than usual? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of people are struggling with the current economy and rise in the cost of living. Interestingly, more than half of them are one small disaster away from a financial crisis. When living paycheck to paycheck has worn out its welcome, and an emergency savings fund seems like a faraway dream, the following tips can help create a financial cushion for those rising costs and expensive life moments.

Savings Tips

It’s true, every dollar saved is a step closer to reaching your financial goals. A simple change in spending behavior can add up to a sizable savings.

· Round Up Your Spending:
When managing your account, try rounding up your purchases. Instead of recording the $31.50 at the gas station, round the dollar amount up $35 or $40. You’ll easily save a few dollars a week with this method. At the end of the month, you can transfer any extra funds you accumulated into your savings account.

· Automatic Savings Transfer:
Many financial institutions offer this choice, and this is a great idea if your budget has a little extra room. Set up a small direct deposit from your paycheck to go into your savings account on a regular basis.

· 50/30/20 Rule:
A common budgeting tool is called the 50/30/20 rule where 50% of your net income after taxes goes towards necessities, 30% goes to wants, and 20% goes towards savings or debts. Using this guide can be very flexible and it forces the idea of making savings a part of your everyday budget.

· Try High Yield Savings Accounts:
Offering a better interest rate than a regular savings account, a high yield savings provides an effortless way to earn more on the funds you have already saved.

Life Tips

Little steps may not seem like they save much or are worth the effort, but long term those cents do add up.

· Groceries:
For your shopping, take advantage of discount/bulk buying for your groceries and necessities. Buy generic instead of name brand and keep an eye out for sales.

· Meal Prep:
Many recommend cooking enough for an entire week, but if that seems overwhelming, consider cooking double what you’re making for dinner tonight. Take the leftovers for lunch the next day instead of eating out. Take out should be a treat, not a common occurrence when you’re trying to save money.

· Electricity/Utility Bill:
Save a few dollars on your bill by switching to energy efficient light bulbs. These bulbs use around 70% less energy than traditional bulbs. Also, check your doors, windows, and vents and seal any leaks to help your heater or air conditioner from working overtime. Lastly, check your thermostat. Keeping your home a little cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer can make a big difference in your monthly expenses.

· Home/Car/Auto/Health insurance:
With insurance costs on the rise, visit your independent insurance agent and review your coverage regularly. These agents don’t represent one singular company, which means they have access to dozens of different policies from various carriers. With some basic information about your auto or home, they will find the lowest cost policy that fits your needs while saving you cash.

· Payoff Debt:
If possible, try to pay off any debt that has you making a monthly payment. By slowly eliminating debt, you are freeing up funds that can now be directed to your living expenses or savings goals.

While there’s endless advice out there for saving money, always take the time to research and decide what’s best for you and your current financial situation. Where one person will find the extra funds to be able to save a substantial amount, another person may only be able to save a few dollars. That’s okay! Any effort to save is an attempt to better your financial future.

If you find your budget isn’t working and you are having no luck creating a savings plan, you can always reach out to one of Dakotaland’s Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors for a free review. They are trained to help you turn small changes into big savings.