To say 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement. But thankfully, 2021 is here at last. And with a new year comes new opportunities to improve your finances. If you're ready to crack down and get serious about saving money, there is no time like the present. Here are the best ways to save money in 2021.
1. Save Money by Meal Planning
Groceries are a considerable expense in most households. And if left unchecked, grocery bills can quickly spiral out of control, especially if you have growing kids! One of the best ways to save money on food is by meal planning. There are a few reasons why.
First, meal planning helps reduce food waste. Food waste is a massive problem in the United States. In fact, the average household throws out almost $2,000 worth of food every year. Yes, you read that right. $2,000! By planning out your meals, you'll use everything in your fridge instead of tossing out thousands of dollars year after year.
Another reason meal planning is a great way to save money is that it forces you to analyze your purchases. You can plan your meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. You can also arrange for more meatless meals to save even more money. And when you go to the store with your shopping list in hand, you'll be less tempted to engage in wasteful spending.
2. Cut Cable
There really is no reason to still pay for full cable television package in 2021. With so many streaming services out there, you can still watch all your favorite shows. And it will be for a fraction of the price.
Here are my favorite streaming services and their monthly costs:
- Netflix: $7.99 to $13.99
- Sling TV: $30 to $45 per month
- Hulu: $5.99 to $70.99 per month
- Disney Plus: $6.99 per month
- HBO Now: $14.99
- YouTube TV: $40+
- Amazon Prime Video: $8.99 a month or an annual $119 subscription which includes all prime shipping benefits
As you can see, streaming services are much less expensive than cable. And did I mention you'll get to skip all those annoying ads too?!
3. Lower Your Bills
Did you know you can negotiate your bills? You sure can! In fact, calling your utility companies and phone service could save you hundreds of dollars. This mom saved over $675 on her bills after just 2 hours.
Another way to save money on your bills is by shopping around for car insurance. Car insurance is one of those annoying bills we all have to have. And the worst part is, it seems like the price is constantly increasing. You could save hundreds of dollars just by switching to a new provider!
4. Use Cashback Apps
I love cashback apps! They are an effortless way to save money in 2021. And one best part is there are money-saving apps for both in-store and online purchases. The world has been doing a ton of online shopping this past year (raise your hand if that includes you). I know I have been. But I have also been able to save lots of money with just the click of a button.
Ibotta: Ibotta is hands down the best cashback app for groceries. You can even get up to $20 in bonuses after signing up.
Rakuten: If you're an online shopping guru (aren't we all after 2020), you need to have Rakuten. Rakuten helps you save money by giving you cashback on tons of online purchases.
Fetch Rewards: If you hate cutting coupons for groceries, you are going to love Fetch Rewards. You can get cashback for grocery purchases, but you don't have to do any of the work, unlike many other programs. Just scan your receipt afterward and Fetch Rewards will automatically give you points for your purchases. If you sign we hop you use our referral code: SAVVY to get $2.00 bonus in your account.
Checkout 51: Checkout 51 is another excellent way to save money on groceries. It gives you more variety than Ibotta because you don't have to shop at a specific store to get the perks.
Swagbucks: When most people think of Swagbucks, they think of surveys. But surveys are just one part of what Swagbucks offers. You can also get cash backs for tons of different purchases. The best thing is you can get cashback for both online AND in-store shopping trips!
GetUpside: Another way to save money in 2021 is by cutting costs at the pump. Even if you aren't driving as much, you'll want GetUpside installed on your phone. You can save up to 25 cents per gallon at thousands of gas stations across the country! GetUpside is simple to use and could save you hundreds of dollars in 2021.
If you're intrigued, check out our post for more tips on using the best cashback apps to save money.
5. Take Advantage of Your Local Library
With the entire world still stuck at home, you (and your kids) might feel like you're running out of things to do. I mean, how many puzzles can one person really handle. A terrific way to get free entertainment is from your local library.
You can save money in 2021 by becoming a library cardholder for free! Even if you aren't an avid reader, you'll want to check it out. In addition to ebooks and audiobooks, many libraries also have DVDs or online movie streaming for free!
Some libraries even have other things you can check out or use. These could include tools, 3D printers, games, meeting rooms, and even tickets to museums and nearby attractions (once those start to open back up). So, check out your local library to find all the things you'll be able to access.
6. Pay Your Credit Card Bill in Full
If you're getting behind on bills, it can be tempting to pay just the minimum balance on your credit card. But paying your credit card account in full is one of the best ways to save money in 2021. The average interest rate for credit cards in 2020 was 16.05%.
Such ridiculously high-interest rates are a recipe for spiraling credit card debt. You'll pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more over the year. This means you could effectively pay 3x or more the actual debt you owe.
Even if you don't pay with physical cash, try to keep your spending in check by paying off your credit card bill every month.
7. Pack Your Lunch
If you're still working in the “real world” and not from home, bringing lunch to work is another simple way to save money. Even a cheap fast-food meal will cost you around $10. That means if you eat out every day at work, you could spend up to $200 or more each month on takeout!
On the other hand, if you bring your lunch, you could eat for as little as $2 a meal, maybe even less if you're a meal planning wizard!
8. Have a Date Night In
Having a date night in is a simple way to save money in 2021. After all, there still aren't many places we can go! But having a date night in is a great way to save money even in standard times. You can cook a fancy meal, watch a movie (on one of your favorite streaming services from above), or play a game. Or maybe do all 3!
There are tons of other, more creative at home date ideas you could try as well. Maybe you can have a spa day, try partner yoga, give backyard camping a shot, or have a dance party! These are fantastic ways to connect with your partner while saving money. That way, you can focus on your big financial goals together.
9. Reduce Impulse Spending
Online shopping is great. But all those ads can make you feel like you just NEED something. Even if you didn't know it existed only 5 minutes before. Before you make any large or unplanned purchase, wait.
I recommend waiting at least 24-48 hours before deciding to make a large purchase. If you can push your date back to a week or a month, even better. If you wait before making a large purchase, you just might realize you didn't need to make it after all.
This is a simple way to save money, especially with all the online shopping you've probably been doing this year!
There are Many Simple Ways to Save Money in 2021
The last year has been challenging. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially for millions of Americans and individuals worldwide. If you're feeling frustrated and stressed out about your finances, know you are not alone.
But luckily, a new year brings new opportunities. I hope these tips to save money in 2021 will help you get the year started right. The beginning of the year is a perfect time to create new habits. And all these little habits can add up to make significant changes in your financial life. That way, when 2022 rolls around, you'll be crushing it!