Inside: Use these good money habits to help you save more and spend less to regain control over your finances.

In a culture that encourages debt and living your best life regardless of the cost, it’s easy for your finances to get off track.

And when you’re living paycheck to paycheck it’s common to feel stuck in your current circumstances and unsure how to resolve it.

The good news is that by adopting good money habits you can change your financial situation.

The actions you take all add up over time and those little changes can completely shift the trajectory of your financial future.

If you’re unsure where to start, read on for nine ideas of good money habits to help you save more and spend less.

And then you can enjoy the freedom and decreased stress that comes from taking charge of your money, rather than having it control you.

good money habits to help you save more

9 Good Money Habits to Help You Save More (& Spend Less)

Use these good money habits to help you save more and spend less as you regain control over your finances.

1. Determine what you truly need

Social media, influencers, and advertisers are constantly telling you that you need the latest and greatest products.

But the truth is, you don’t. Establishing what your wants vs needs are is an important first step in taking control of your finances.

To save more and spend less, it’s crucial to learn to be more intentional with shopping. You can save a lot of money by simply opting not to buy items that aren’t essential.

You can get creative and learn ways to make do instead of buy new. By working with what you have or borrowing from others you can keep more money in your pocket.

And if it is something you need see if you can buy it secondhand instead. It’s a great sustainable option for certain types of items.

weekly meal planner

2. Meal plan in advance

Meal planning is one of the best things you can do to save money on food for your family leaving more room in your budget.

Planning your meals in advance helps prevent overwhelm by eliminating the last minute what are we going to eat for dinner stress. It also allows you to buy on sale and make the most of leftovers.

As part of your planning, check the refrigerator and pantry for things that need to be used up.

This will reduce food waste waste and save you money in the long run.

If you have a busy week and don’t end up having the time or energy to prepare a meal, there are still ways to save money without cooking, such as buying prepared from the grocery store.

Setting aside time to meal plan weekly will not only save you money, but it will also help you to be more intentional with the food you consume. Generally speaking, cooking at home is much healthier than getting dinner from a drive-thru.


3. Create a budget & stick to it

Creating a budget is an important step in regaining control of your finances. A budget will give you guidelines and boundaries to help you make good choices with your money and ensure that you have enough money left to pay your bills each month.

Use these practical tips in your budgeting process. After setting your initial budget you may find it’s necessary to revise some numbers up or down.

That’s part of the process as you realize where your money has been going and what you’re able to cut from your monthly bills, which brings us to the next good money habit…

4. Review your spending

Looking at what you spend each month can be an eye-opening experience. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Reviewing your spending regularly will help you find money drains that are wasting your money. Once you become aware of the behaviors and habits that are costing you, you can work to adjust them as needed.

Things like streaming services and food and drinks on the go can add up quickly. Or perhaps you’re paying for subscriptions you’d forgotten you’d even had.

As you dive deeper into your spending habits look for additional ways to simplify to save more money. You can make a significant difference in your monthly spending by cutting back on certain areas, negotiating some of your costs, and shopping around for a better deal.

And this isn’t a one-and-done process. Regularly sitting down to review and find expenses that can be cut is a great financial habit to build.

good money habits to help you save more

5. Pay bills on time

Ensuring that you pay your bills on time will not only reduce stress but will also prevent you from accruing late fees.

Additionally, you will lose certain services or coverage if your bills aren’t paid in a timely fashion.

Unpaid bills can negatively impact your credit score as well.

If you struggle with keeping papers organized in your home, consider signing up for autopay. If you’re uncomfortable with that, then simply set up reminders in your calendar of upcoming due dates.

Some companies will allow you to alter your payment date so you could also look into that to consolidate bill paying to a few days per month.

Staying on top of your bills will help keep your budget running smoothly and save you hundreds of dollars in fees every year.

woman holding paper and looking stressed

6. Pay down debt (& stop acquiring it)

At the start of 2024, Americans set new records for household debt to the tune of 17.3 trillion dollars. (source)

And the average American has $7,951 in credit card debt alone (source). With credit card interest rates averaging at 21.59% that is a lot of extra money going to credit card companies (source).

Paying down your debt will help get you out from under monthly payments allowing you to have more money in your budget every single month.

Reducing your debt also helps to improve your credit rating so if you ever need a loan in the future you will have a higher credit score for qualifying.

Paying down smaller debts as quickly as possible rather than making the minimum payments can help improve your credit and get those payments off your monthly budget to create more wiggle room.

Going forward it’s crucial to stop acquiring more debt. While we’ve lost the art of waiting in an instant gratification world, you can opt out of that.

Choose to wait to purchase things until you’ve saved up enough money for them. You’ll save money and keep yourself from going deeper into debt.

good money habits to help you save more

7. Look for new income streams

Looking for simple ways you can make a bit of extra money is a great financial habit. From taking on a side job using skills you have already to building up a new skill to create new income streams is a great way to set yourself up for financial success.

The more sources of income your family has the better off you will be financially should you fall on hard times.

If you lose your job, have your hours cut back, or find that there is not enough room in your budget for the month you can fall back on these extra incomes by putting more time and work into them.

There are many great ways to make money online, offline, and at home. Do some research and see what interests you and would work with your schedule.

And if your home happens to be cluttered there are ways to make money while decluttering it. Not only does this help to simplify your space but you can make some extra money in the process.

frugal decluttering

8. Create an emergency fund & a savings plan

The combination of budgeting your money to save on expenses each month and adding new streams of income can help provide the funds to create an emergency fund.

Generally speaking, an emergency fund is 3-6 months of living expenses. Use this emergency fund calculator to determine what yours should be.

But what people are actually saving for their emergency fund appears to be all over the map. Many commenters reflected on dipping into their savings for an unexpected expense and working to build it back up. Others talked about wanting to save far past 6 months in the event of a layoff.

Ultimately, start where you are and do what you can to set aside some money every month so that when unexpected circumstances arise you’re financially prepared to deal with them.

9. Invest for the future

After you’ve established your emergency fund, make regular investing a part of your financial strategy. This good money habit helps to build wealth and gives you a fallback that can earn more income over time.

Check on your retirement contribution and investment options with your employer.

Also, talk with your CPA and financial advisor about what investment options make the most sense with your financial goals and timelines.

Creating a diversified portfolio over time can help you weather the various economic storms that come.

count money

Final thoughts on good money habits to help you save more

Now is a great time to consider what good money habits you can adopt to help improve your financial situation.

Create a plan and focus on the most impactful areas for your finances first. Over time you can add more habits that will help you reach your goals.

By regaining control over your finances and learning new skills with money you can help your kids learn to manage their money well too. Not everyone is raised with good money habits, but as you learn and grow you can help pass along your knowledge to the next generation.

Which of the good money habits to help you save more do you plan to focus on first? Let us know in the comments section.

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