Saving money is like working out. You may grumble and groan your way through it, but the results feel oh so good.
Who doesn’t want to have more money in their bank account? Whether it’s cash for something fun, reserves to use in case of an emergency or a nest egg for the future, increasing your savings is vital.
Going into the new year, we want you to be armed with the know-how to beef up your savings account. Here are eight of our favorite stories from 2019 that’ll help you do it.
1. Make Your Emergency Fund a Priority
An emergency fund is your financial safety net. Unexpected expenses are bound to crop up. It’s wise to have money saved for when something happens.
Here’s how to start an emergency fund today, so you don’t rack up credit card debt or take out a payday loan when your dentist says you need a crown or your car needs a new alternator.
2. Stack Up Cash Quickly
Money tends to grow slowly, but sometimes our savings need a boost ASAP.
These 44 suggestions on how to save money fast will increase the balance in your account without having to wait a whole year to see results.
3. Challenge Yourself to Spend Less
If you want to save money, it’s pretty obvious you’ll need to spend less. One way to accomplish that is with a no-spend challenge.
Now before you get intimidated by the name, the aim of this money-saving strategy is to significantly reduce your spending. You shouldn’t be going hungry and falling behind on bills just so you can say you didn’t spend a dime for an entire month.
Curious about the nuts and bolts of it all? Here are four different ways to participate in a no-spend challenge.
4. Have Fun Without Reaching Into Your Wallet
Sometimes it feels impossible to have a social life — or entertain your kids or treat yourself to something nice — without spending a bunch of money.
But the solution isn’t locking yourself inside your house and succumbing to absolute boredom. You can find entertainment that doesn’t include a price tag. Bookmark this list of 100 free things to do for those days when you want to have fun but need to save money.
5. Rethink Your Living Arrangements
Housing is often the single largest monthly expense people face. You’ve got to have a roof over your head, but a little out-of-the-box thinking can help you reduce your rent or mortgage.
If you’re willing to break from the tradition, these six alternative housing options can save you hundreds of dollars each month.
6. Save Money at Home
Chances are, there are several opportunities to save money hiding right under your nose. Take where you live, for example. These are several easy ways to save money around the house.
By tweaking your habits when it comes to food, utilities, clothing and cleaning supplies, you can lower your expenses and build up your reserves.
7. Get the Best Deals on Flights
It’s hard to relax on vacation when you’ve spent so much on plane tickets that you can’t even afford a mai tai on the beach.
Save money on upcoming travel by being strategic about when you book your flight. Knowing the cheapest days to fly will help you pocket more of your hard-earned cash. Just try not to spend all your savings on souvenirs.
8. Be Smart About Your Next Car Purchase
When it comes to buying a car, going with one that’s new to you rather than brand new can help you save thousands. Our ultimate guide to buying a used car gives tips on when, where and what to look out for when getting your next set of wheels.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.