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#MoneySmartWeek 2016: Money saving tips & budgeting tricks from our Money Smart Alliant members

woman saving money in grocery store budget
April 29, 2016

By Allison Videtti

In celebration of Money Smart Week 2016, we asked our money-savvy Facebook fans to share with us how to save money and stick to a budget. Here are their money-saving tips (and our two cents, too!). 

Enjoy!

Q: What’s your favorite free activity?

Trying to save money? That doesn’t need to mean saying goodbye to fun forever. If you’re looking for entertainment ideas that won’t completely bust your household budget, look no further than your own backyard (or couch, or dining room table…). The majority of our Facebook fans’ money saving tips said there’s nothing better — or more cost-effective — than some old-fashioned quality time with the family.

  • “Geocaching, camping and the beach with family.” — Jeanine M.
  • “Reading (alone or with the family), going to the park or beach, or playing board games.” — Joyce M.
  • “Hanging out at home watching a movie.” — Kathleen C.

Pro budgeting tip: Check out your local community’s calendar. There are often lots of free things happening right outside your door. Both the high school and college in my town often host free photography exhibits and choral concerts, and the town puts on movies in the park one weekend per month all summer. I never would’ve known if I hadn’t checked my town’s website!

 

Q: What’s your favorite money management app?

Budgeting and saving money can be a lot easier when you have the right tools. If you’re already glued to your smartphone, a budgeting app can be a great option. Below are a few our Facebook fans love:

  • “Personal Capital. It has great data analysis on investment weighting.” — Shawn K.
  • “Mint. I can combine all of my accounts, even at other institutions, and I receive alerts for high spending and when I’m over budget.” — Kimberly A.
  • “I love Mint… but shout-out to Alliant. You can add other accounts on their app, too!” — Matt. L.

Pro budgeting tip: When you’re researching what budgeting app is right for you, keep in mind your overall goal. For example, if you’re new to managing your money, you’re probably better off with an app that simply tracks your daily spending, like Level Money or Budgt. If you have lots of accounts and a good handle on your finances, consider an app that gives you a broader overview of your accounts, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). 

You should also check out your financial institution’s budget and personal finance app (*ahem*). Alliant’s Money Management and Budgeting Tool lets you add accounts from other banks so you can see your full financial picture. 

 

Q: How do you save extra money?

Need a little breathing room? Our financially fit Facebook fans shared these tips on how to save money every month:

  • “Not spending money on little things like coffee and fast food; making one big trip to the grocery store rather than lots of little ones; and using coupons and member rewards cards.” — Rebecca L.
  • “I have money taken directly out of my paycheck into a supplemental account. Out of sight, out of mind is what helps me.” — Kimberly A.
  • “… most definitely taking advantage of any company-sponsored matching funds! And making one extra mortgage payment each year directly toward the principle to pay off the mortgage 7 years sooner!” — Meriam W.

Pro budgeting tip: A quick Internet search of “tips to save money” brings up tons of results that you’ve probably already thought of — bring your lunch to work, use public transit vs. driving, etc. But one of my favorite ways to save more money is regularly reviewing my credit card and checking account statements. 

It seems like every time I do this, I realize I’m still paying for something I thought I cancelled. That subscription to the magazine I never read? A “free trial” of a streaming service that I am now being charged for? When I actually cancelled these things, I suddenly had more room in my budget.

This also gives me a chance to review the rewards I’m getting for my credit card. If I’m not earning cash back, or rewards I can use to purchase something I’ll really need, then it’s time to say goodbye to that card.

Being money smart doesn’t take a degree in finance, but it does require a little creativity. Visit us on Facebook to share YOUR favorite money saving tips with us!

 

The mention of the personal finance apps Personal Capital, Mint, Level Money, Budgt or You Need a Budget (YNAB) does not constitute an endorsement from Alliant.


Allison Videtti is a social media/digital marketing specialist at Alliant. In her previous life, she worked in real estate and held multiple positions at a Chicago-based digital marketing agency, overseeing content strategy for a number of financial services clients. Allison's always been a saver and is something of a personal finance junkie. She loves reviewing her spending and updating her budget, and can't get enough of finance-related blogs and podcasts. Her favorites? Wisebread.com and the Planet Money podcast.