7 Simple Personal Finance Tips You Can Try All Year Long

Any time of year is the right time to start saving money. Get going with these easy, doable personal finance tips.

Personal finance tips range from common sense—"Avoid unnecessary spending"—to vague, near impossibilities—"Have the equivalent of your salary in savings before age 30." Many tips for how to save money are helpful for disciplined, goal-oriented, personal finance–savvy people, but we're not all like that. Some of us really struggle to put money-saving tips into action, but that doesn’t mean we should kick all personal finance tips to the curb.

Instead of giving up on money management altogether, focus on smaller actions that make a big difference. Money-saving tips you can start and finish in minutes are easier to accomplish than broad goals (such as using the Debt Snowball method to pay off debt) and the financial benefits add up almost immediately. For example, buying a $3 coffee every day doesn’t seem like a big deal, but at the end of the year, you'll have saved over $1000. The best personal finance tips work the same way: Completing them saves a tiny bit at first, but after a year or longer, the savings really stack up.

For small, actionable savings goals, Real Simple turned to Marcus by Goldman Sachs, a personal loan and online savings account service that offers easy personal finance tips to help anyone get into monetary shape.

01 of 07

Stop paying for checking and savings accounts

Tiny Personal Finance Tips - Easy Ways to Save Money with a piggy bank
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Rates vary, but many banks charge $5 to $10 a month to maintain your checking or savings account. Some banks waive that charge if you deposit a minimum amount into your account each month, maintain a minimum balance, or fulfill some other requirement. Make sure you’re fulfilling one of those requirements or start shopping around for a no-fee account. (They’re out there.)

Once you’re fee-free, the financial gurus at Marcus suggest depositing the same amount you were spending on fees every month into your savings account.

02 of 07

Check the interest rate on your savings account

If you’re regularly putting money into a savings account and working for your savings, there's a chance those savings aren't working for you. Check the interest rate on that savings account: Some are less than 1 percent, meaning that money is barely growing at all, and others, like those at Marcus, are 2 percent or higher. With a rate like that, a $5000 savings account earns more than $100 a year, without you doing a thing. Shop around for high-interest rates to boost your savings efforts.

03 of 07

Remove auto-saved credit card numbers

One-click online shopping is a slippery slope. It’s convenient when retailers (and even internet browsers) offer to keep your credit card on file—so next time you shop, you don’t even have to pull out your wallet—but it can also lead to thoughtless, impulsive spending. Marcus’ team suggests removing that information and hand-entering credit card information every time you make an online purchase. This pause provides a chance for you to consider if it’s a good use of your money.

04 of 07

Go 1:1 on entertainment and spending

Commit to making a matching deposit into savings for every fun or non-essential purchase. A $60 sweater? Stick another $60 into savings. This tactic makes your savings grow while forcing you to consider non-essential purchases more carefully.

05 of 07

Up your health savings account (HSA)

Funding an HSA is a smart way to save money on taxes and may reduce the amount you spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses. Making the most of this account—which allows money to accrue year after year, unlike an FSA—can make a true medical emergency (such as a broken leg or a night in the hospital) easier to manage financially.

06 of 07

Ignore your raise

Making more money doesn’t mean you should spend more. Living below your means leaves leftover money to tuck into savings, investments, and more. Marcus’ team suggests making that new money work for you by redirecting it into a CD or high-interest savings account.

07 of 07

Celebrate your wins and then save the rest

A tax season windfall, bonus, or unexpected monetary gift can seem like play money, but putting it to good use can help you get closer to your personal finance goals. Try putting only half toward immediate wants, the team at Marcus suggests, and save the rest.

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