10 Ways Women Can Save Money in 2023
New research from Fidelity found that “stress” is the No. 1 word women use to describe how they feel about money. It also revealed that women are most concerned over inflation (85%) and inadequate emergency funds (76%).
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Additionally, women typically retire earlier with 30% less in retirement savings than men, which puts them at risk of running out of their savings in retirement, according to Melissa Shaw, wealth management advisor at TIAA. “A break or delay from saving today can have a huge impact on their savings balances tomorrow,” she said.
So how can women save more money, starting this year? Here are 10 ideas.
Put Your Future First
Shaw said that moms tend to think of their kids’ needs before their own. “We want our kids to be happy, safe, and to put them in the best possible position to have successful productive lives,” she said. However, this can lead to spending money that you really should be saving.
“For example, I work with clients who want to fund their children’s education while potentially putting at risk their own ability to retire,” Shaw explained. “I remind them that there are many ways to fund college education…if you don’t save enough money to support yourself in retirement, you may become a burden to your kids later in life.”
The truth is that prioritizing yourself and saving enough for retirement is another way to protect your children from financial burdens.
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Work Toward a Specific Goal
According to Lincoln Financial Group’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker study, 94% of women report planning for the future is very important to them. Yet only 72% of women say they’re likely to set financial goals for 2023.
“Make sure you’re working towards a goal that you want to achieve — regardless of your age,” said Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback. She added that goals should be measurable within a specific time frame. For example, instead of setting a goal to save more money this year, commit to saving $1,000 by May 2023.
Bump Your Savings Rate by 1%
Though you need to ensure you can cover your day-to-day needs, it’s important to first put a certain percentage of your income aside for savings, according to Naoko McKelvey, CFP and senior financial advisor at Blue Chip Partners.
“If it’s not there for you to spend, it is more likely for you to readjust your immediate expenses accordingly,” she explained. And if you want to save more this year, it can be as simple as increasing your savings rate by 1% — an amount that’s large enough to grow your savings, but small enough that you won’t really notice it’s missing.
Get Your Budget in Check
You know you need a budget, but when was the last time you sat down and reviewed it? Aside from keeping a spreadsheet of your income and expenses, McKelvey said you can also employ some simple technology to stay on top of your bills, such as calendar reminders.
“If possible, set up automatic payments for expenses that are fixed and important, like your mortgage, student loans and utilities,” she said. “Set up sinking funds for larger annual expenses to allocate monthly savings for your property taxes or auto or home insurance bills so you are never caught short.”
Organize Your Credit Cards
When used responsibly and thoughtfully, credit cards can be a powerful tool for saving money. So if you have a stack of plastic in your wallet, figure out how you can use each card strategically.
“Look into the terms of your credit card’s program to determine which spending categories give you the highest cash back, rewards points or miles, and make sure to use that card when shopping for those items,” Gramuglia said. “You can then use what you’ve earned toward a statement credit to help you pay off your bill.”
Cut Food Bills
Consumers have been feeling the effects on inflation in just about every corner of their lives. But one spending category that’s been hit hard is food. Last year, food prices jumped nearly 10%, so looking for ways to cut down on food spending can greatly benefit your budget.
For example, McKelvey said that services such as Uber Eats and DoorDash have become very popular for convenience, but can cost double what you would spend if you made your own meal at home. She also recommended shopping at no-frills grocery stores, earning reusable bag credits and switching to generic brands.
“Be careful about shopping at wholesale places,” she added. “Sometimes we perceive getting a better deal buying in bulk, but if you are not consuming what you buy and it is spoiling or expiring before you can finish, you might be throwing money in the trash.”
Always Look for Coupons
No matter where you shop, Gramuglia said it’s a good habit to layer coupons and other discounts whenever possible. Research any applicable deals before making a purchase, and take advantage of cashback browser plug-ins that can find and apply coupons automatically when shopping online.
Know Retailer Sale Cycles
Another way to save money is shopping at certain retailers during their sales cycles. “Stores often follow the same calendar of sales each year, so make note of any sales for your favorite retailers and save your shopping trip until then (if you can wait),” Gramuglia said.
For example, Nordstrom’s anniversary sales event occurs every year beginning in mid-July, while Sephora historically hosts their savings event every spring and fall.
Trim Down Unnecessary Apps and Services
Take a look at the apps on your phone and consider which ones might be draining money from your budget, such as “pay-to-play” games, music and radio subscriptions, automatic refills and streaming services. McKelvey said these all make it too easy to spend mindlessly, so consider cleaning up and only keeping the ones that bring real value to your life.
Increase Your Financial Literacy
Working to improve your knowledge of financial concepts like budgeting and investing can really pay off in the long run. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Shaw said you don’t need to sift through analysts’ reports and the 80-page statement you get each quarter from your investment company. Instead, try finding 10-15 minutes each week to learn something new.
“There are several online tools that can help with budgeting and goal planning,” Shaw said. “If your employer offers webinars or seminars on financial planning topics, sign up for them.” Many employers even allow their employees to meet with financial consultants at work for free, so take advantage of these opportunities.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Ways Women Can Save Money in 2023