For some people, they live their whole lives dreaming about a dress, or a wedding, or a honeymoon. For me, it’s being able to afford a house—not a mansion surrounded by farmland, or a one-bedroom condo squeezed into a high rise in the city, but something in between; something that feels like home when I step inside every day.
Getting there means committing to my savings goal, and being aggressive about it. How am I doing it? Without getting into the numbers, here are four ways I’ve learned to save more money by leveraging what you already have:
Open a High Yield Savings Account
Interest rates are insanely low at most banks, but high yield savings accounts get you close to 1% in interest, compounded monthly.
A quick Google search landed me on this list, and when I told my fiancé he could get almost a full percent in interest each month, instead of 0.001%, he immediately applied for his account.
I’m with Capital One 360, formerly ING Direct, and what I love about it is the savings goal tool they have. I put in a total, and a date to achieve said goal, and it spits out a number I need to put away each month to meet that goal. As my savings increase, that monthly figure changes too.
Plus, with their Automatic Savings Plan, I can let my savings stack up without even thinking about it, and then add a little here and there when I have more room to save.
Earn Cash Back for Regular Purchases
J will tell you, I am addicted to rebate apps—I have four of them downloaded to my phone, because each week, they each have different offers on them.
My favorite is Ibotta (referral code in link), because I tend to buy generic brands of staple items like pasta and milk and bread and with Ibotta, you don’t always have to buy a specific brand of food to get cash back.
I don’t live and die by the rebate apps—if I want to make my list and check to see if I get rebates when I’ve already gone to the store, I do.
It only takes a few minutes to check for rebates and scan my receipt. Then, I can deposit my earnings into PayPal for easy withdrawal to my bank account.
Make Your Card Work for You
J will also tell you I’m addicted to points programs, and hate using a credit card that doesn’t get me something in return.
One of my credit cards gets me 3% on groceries, 2% on gas, and 1% on everything else—all the time. I don’t have to look at current deals or work hard for my points.
As those purchase credits stack up, I can apply them to my balance in $25 increments.
Rack Up the Points
I love MyPoints—my college roommate introduced me to the site in 2008, and I’ve never looked back.
I get daily “bonus mail” e-mails from them, and when I click on most of those e-mails, to load a partner offer, I get 5 or 10 points. Each purchase earns me points per dollar, too, so if I need to shop online, I go through MyPoints and navigate to the online retailer from there. That way, it tracks my spending and credits me for my sale.
After about 1700 points, you can redeem them for gift cards at all kinds of gas stations, restaurants, and retail stores. My go-to is Target, because if I need to spend the money on toilet paper or soap or toothpaste anyway, I might as well use a gift card.
What works for you? If you’re in your 20s or 30s, wondering how well you’re doing with savings, check out this article from Levo League. I felt much better after reading it myself, and much closer to one of the biggest purchases I’ll make in my life—a place to call home.