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11 Ways to Save More Money This Year

With a new year underway, it’s a great time to re-evaluate your spending and start thinking about ways you can save more money this year.

happy young woman hugging a piggy bank

With inflation and everyday costs remaining high, having a good savings plan is more important than ever. With a new year on the horizon, it’s a great time to re-evaluate your spending and start thinking about ways you can save more money this year.

Evaluate and Update Your Savings Goals

Start by thinking about what exactly you want to save for this year or, even better, your long-term savings goals. Whether you’d like to pay off debts, have a great vacation, renovate your home, or add money to your emergency fund, planning for your goals is the first step to achieving them.
If you’re planning to buy a home in 2024, you may want to adjust your current savings strategy as home prices and loan interest rates continue to be high. Think about where you can make additional savings to fund your home budget or areas you can be more flexible on when finding a home, like location or property size.

Create a Budget

If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to make one. Creating a budget is a good idea for anyone with specific savings goals, but it’s a helpful money-saving strategy for everyone.
A budget helps you stay on track with your current incoming and outgoing money, which can be a real eye-opener if you’ve been spending more than you thought. There are plenty of budgeting apps and tools out there to make this aspect of money management easier.

Trim Unnecessary Expenses

Once you’ve made your budget, pay attention to your wants or any unnecessary expenses. These expenses are considered anything that isn’t a necessity, such as streaming subscriptions, recreational spending, and eating out.
Consider what you could cut down on to put more money back in your pocket each month. Streaming services and subscriptions that you’re not actively using are great places to start. Many cell phone networks now include streaming service benefits, so see if your current plan offers an opportunity to bundle services like this.
Food delivery costs like DoorDash or UberEats can quickly add up, along with eating out. If you’re planning to grab takeout, consider ordering directly from the restaurant and picking it up or using their delivery services to save some money. Even better, if you can make your meal at home, prioritize this over getting something to-go.

Make a Plan to Lower Your Debt

By cutting down on credit card interest or high-interest loan debt, you’ll be able to save more money in the long run. If you can afford to, consider paying more than the minimum on your credit cards each month.
You could also transfer your balance to a different credit card and consolidate your spending onto your lowest-interest card. If you’re thinking of opening a new credit card, look for 0% APR introductory offers to help you consolidate debt without accruing additional interest for a fixed amount of time.

Start an Emergency Fund

You never know when an emergency bill could land in your mailbox. If you’re not prepared for a financial emergency, this can interrupt your savings plan and lead to even more debt.
Starting an emergency fund, no matter how small, can help you become more financially prepared. A medical emergency that leaves you with a big bill, a car breakdown or unexpected repair, or even a pet injury or illness can quickly become expensive without some money in the bank to help you out.
Putting cash into an interest bearing savings account is a great place to start. You’ll earn more money on the cash you have saved already, which can make a difference if you’re in a pinch. A health savings account can be a good resource specifically for saving in a tax-free way to cover any medical expenses you have throughout the year.

11 Ways to Save More Money This Year    1. Evaluate And Update Your Savings Goals and Strategy   2. Create A Budget  3. Trim Unnecessary Expenses  4. Make A Plan To Lower Your Debt  5. Start An Emergency Fund  6. Automate Your Savings  7. Look for High Interest Savings Opportunities   8. Get A Checking Account With Better Benefits   9. Consider A Club Account For the Big Expenses   10. Make Energy Efficient Upgrades to your Home  11. Save Your Tax Refund

Automate Your Savings

There’s no easier way to save money than to do it without thinking about it! Automating your savings means that you’re putting aside some funds every month without the temptation of spending that cash. Consistently saving money is an investment in your future that you’ll be thankful for.
Set up an automatic monthly deposit to transfer some money from your checking account to your savings account while also taking advantage of other savings opportunities.
Automate retirement savings with your employer by having money deducted each month from your paycheck into a 401(k). Employers will often match a certain percentage, and these funds are deducted pre-tax so you can save on your federal taxes every year.
Your employer may also have a company-sponsored health savings account (HSA) that you can contribute to. An HSA is typically also pre-tax and earns interest, with options to carry any balances over from year to year if you don’t spend it all. While there are contribution limits, this can be another great way to save over the year.
Many employers now offer flexible spending accounts and commuter savings, which can be used for specific expenses like childcare or commuting costs. If you’re thinking about these options, consider discussing this with a wealth manager to determine if these are the right steps for you.

Look for High Interest Savings Opportunities

When it comes to interest rates, higher isn’t great for mortgages or personal loans, but they’re a great perk for various savings options.
Look at what high-yield savings options are open to you, such as money market accounts. While these require a higher balance to open, they typically offer a higher interest rate than traditional savings accounts. That means you’ll be making even more money on the balance you’ve currently saved.
Certificate of deposit (CDs) accounts can also be helpful if you’re trying to maximize your earnings on a high-interest account. Your money and rate will be locked in for a fixed amount of time, so this might not be best for your emergency fund.
But if you have other savings that you don’t need to touch for the time being, a CD can earn you a significant amount of additional cash. Opening multiple CDs with different maturity dates can be a smart way to capitalize on the best interest rates available.
Even with a traditional savings account, you can still benefit from higher rates. If your current bank isn’t providing you with what you need, it may be time to consider switching banks to another financial institution that offers a more competitive interest rate.

Get a Checking Account with Benefits

While you may only think about your checking account as your day-to-day fund, you should consider upgrading your account to one with rewards or benefits that could financially benefit you throughout the year.
At First National Bank and Trust, our one account comes with a range of benefits, like cellphone protection,1,2 roadside assistance, ID monitoring,3 health savings cards, grocery savings, and shopping and dining discounts.
For a small fee, you’ll save money in the long term on your everyday purchases. And when it’s time for you to start thinking about a new home, you’ll even get a discount on your mortgage closing costs with us.

Consider a Club Account for Big Expenses

Saving for a big trip or a major household expense can feel daunting, but using a club account throughout the year can simplify saving for these expenses.
Often called a Christmas Club account, you can put aside money every month and make your annual one-time withdrawal when you’re ready. It doesn’t have to just be for the holidays—any major expense can be covered using a club account.

Make Energy Efficient Home Upgrades

There are plenty of reasons to consider making your home more energy efficient this year. Alongside the environmental benefits, you could see cost savings too.
The IRS and many state governments now offer rebates for energy-efficient upgrades to your home, like new windows, doors, and insulation. These rebates can cover up to 80% of the home improvement cost for low-to-moderate-income families.
Not only could you benefit from the tax savings when you make the upgrades, but you’ll also be benefiting from lower energy bills once new systems or updates have been made. For instance, no more leaky windows means your heating bill should be greatly reduced.

Save Your Tax Refund

Come tax time, you may be pleasantly surprised to find a refund in your mailbox or bank account. Instead of spending that money, think more strategically about how you could use those funds.
Saving that money in a high-yield savings account is a great place to start to earn some additional funds on top of the ones you didn’t even know you’d be seeing! You could also use some of your refund to pay down debts and reduce your outgoings each month.

Start Saving More Money Today

At First National Bank and Trust, we want to help you reach your financial goals. Whether that’s saving more money for a rainy day or putting aside funds for a big expense like a wedding or home, we treat our customers like family and love to see you hit those money milestones.
Contact us today or stop by one of our branches to find the right savings options for you. You can find us conveniently located in Beloit, Argyle, Clinton, Darien, Delavan, Monroe, Elkhorn, Janesville, Walworth, and Williams Bay, WI and Rockton, Roscoe, and Winnebago, IL. Ready to start saving? Open a new savings account today by applying online.

1 Cell phone protection and personal identity theft benefits are subject to additional terms and conditions.
3 Identity Monitoring requires additional enrollment on