View all posts

How To Save More Money In 2023


How To Save More Money In 2023

What’s on your new year’s resolution list this year? If you’re like many people, you probably want to save more money, especially after a year when inflation tightened many families’ budgets. Saving money helps you stay out of debt, attain peace of mind, and reach important life goals such as buying a house, paying for a child to go to college, taking a big vacation, retiring, and more. If you’ve made a financial resolution to save more money this year, here are our best savings tips to help you achieve your goals and avoid common financial pitfalls.

Evaluate Your Current Savings Strategy

Before you can identify the best changes to make, you need to know what you’re currently doing. Perform an audit of your savings strategy as follows:

  • List all your savings accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA for retirement, child’s college account, regular bank savings accounts, CDs, etc.
  • What are you saving for? List the goals you’re working towards such as retirement, college, vacation, a wedding, down payment on a home, emergency savings, and more.
  • How much did you save in each account last year? Review account statements and also look at how much you’re contributing each paycheck, month, etc.

Now that you know where you stand, you can look for more ways to save money. This requires you to know where your money is going in the first place. If you don’t already have a budget in place to plan and track your spending, now is the time to start.

For example, could you eliminate one restaurant or takeout meal each month and allocate what you’d usually spend on that to your savings account instead? Most of us have some opportunity to trim spending on a discretionary category and save more instead.

How Much Money Should You Have Saved For Retirement?

While smaller savings goals, such as a vacation or house down payment, are easier to calculate, it can be hard to know how much you need to save for retirement. Here is what CNBC suggests, broken down by age:

  • By 30: You should have the equivalent of one year’s salary in your retirement savings account (For example, if your salary is $50,000, you’d aim to have that much saved).
  • By 40: Three times your annual income saved (For example, 50,000 x 3 = 150,000).
  • By 50: Six times your annual income
  • By 67: 10 times your annual income

These age-based savings milestones can help you set a goal for retirement that will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle. Depending on your specific situation, you may want to set a goal that is higher or lower than the suggested benchmarks. If you’re not sure, talk to a financial planner about your retirement goals and needs.

Adjust Your Budget and Cut Spending

Review your current budget, especially recurring and discretionary expenses. If you don’t have a budget, create one to help you save money and gain control over your finances. A simple formula you can follow is the 60/20/20 rule:

  • 60% of your income goes toward essentials such as housing, food, etc.
  • 20% goes toward your financial goals, such as savings
  • 20% can be allocated for discretionary spending, aka “fun money.”

There are a variety of budgeting apps and spreadsheets out there. You may need to try a few approaches before finding the method that works best for you. Another approach is to try an all-cash budget with the envelope method. Or you could keep just your discretionary money in cash and when it’s gone for the month, it’s gone. Research shows that paying in cash makes people feel the “pang” of parting with their money, while credit cards tend to encourage impulse and overspending.

Overall, getting a handle on what is a need versus a want can help you reduce your spending, freeing up more money to put towards your savings goals.

Look for expenses to cut or reduce

Making and sticking to a budget will give you more control (and peace of mind!) over your finances. Once you know where your money is going, you can identify things you no longer use or areas where you could reduce spending. For example:

  • Have multiple streaming services? Cut out the ones you watch the least and stick with the one you watch most often.
  • Cancel unused monthly subscriptions for apps, software, newspapers, magazines, “boxes,” gym memberships, etc.
  • Trim entertainment expenses such as concerts, movies in the theater, and more.
  • Dine out less and eat more at home. The cost of “Food Away From Home” rose by 8.5% between November 2021 and 2022, according to The Consumer Price Index. So, reducing restaurant and takeout meals can definitely help you save money.
  • Comparison shop before making a purchase–consider cheaper store brand items over the brand name.
  • Buy used instead of new where possible. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and of course your local thrift store makes it easy to find common household items, kids and baby stuff, and more at a lower price.
  • When shopping at the grocery store or drug store, buy items on sale, clip coupons, and sign up for free store rewards programs.
  • Evaluate your insurance costs. For example, if you have a job that allows you to work from home, ask your car insurer if you can get a lower rate for driving less. You may also be able to save money by bundling insurance policies such as auto, home or renter’s, and life.
  • Still going into work? Bring your lunch instead of buying. Make coffee at home or take advantage of any free on-site coffee your employer offers.
  • Consider energy efficient appliances when it’s time to replace an old or broken appliance. Newer, energy efficient models will help you save on utility bills.

Pay Off or Consolidate Higher Interest Debt

Paying off debt with higher interest rates, such as credit card balances, can help you save money on interest and eliminate one of your monthly bills.

Consider the snowball or avalanche method for paying off debt. With the snowball method, you throw everything you have at the lowest balance debt while making minimum payments on everything else. Once you pay off that first account, you move on to the next lowest balance. With the avalanche method, you start with the highest interest rate regardless of balance.

Consolidating your higher interest debt can also help you save money by combining multiple accounts (and monthly payments) into one lower interest loan with one fixed monthly payment. Just make sure you identify the root causes of your debt before pursuing consolidation. If you don’t change the things that led you to accumulate debt in the first place, you risk consolidating only to run up a credit card balance again.  

Automate Your Savings

Make saving easier so you don’t even have to think about it. Set up automatic transfers on weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis from your checking to your savings account. If you have a Kasasa Cash or Cash Back Checking account, you can link to your Kasasa Saver account. Find the right retirement savings account and get started today.

Automate Your Retirement Savings

If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement savings plan, make sure you are contributing at least enough to qualify for the full match they offer. 401(k) contributions are deducted from your pre-tax income, so it lowers your overall taxable income for the year. You can set a certain amount to be deducted from each paycheck so it’s automated.

Annual contribution limits are set by the IRS each year. For 2023 the limit is:

  • $22,500

If you are age 50+, you can make an additional “catch-up contribution” of up to $7,500.

While it’s not always possible to max out your 401(k) contributions, consider setting up an annual 1% increase to your contribution amount. That is another way to automate your savings in an incremental way.

If you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement account, you can open your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA). IRAs offer the same tax benefits as a 401(k). For 2023, the contribution limit for IRAs is $6,500, with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution available to people age 55+.

Employer-Sponsored Health Accounts

Anyone can contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have a high-deductible health plan. Your employer can also contribute to your HSA. This type of savings account offers a triple tax benefit:

  • Contributions to your HSA come from pre-tax dollars
  • Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are not taxed
  • You can invest some or all of your HSA balance and enjoy tax-free growth

HSAs can even be used as a retirement savings vehicle because they never expire. Even if you currently get your HSA through your employer, you will be able to hold onto it if you leave your job. At age 65, you can use HSA funds for any expense without incurring a penalty. However, distributions for non-qualified medical expenses will be subject to income tax.

View this complete list of HSA-eligible expenses. You may be surprised by all the things you can use your HSA card for–not just doctor visits and prescriptions.

For 2023, limits on employer and employee contributions to an HSA are as follows:

  • Individual Coverage: $3,850
  • Family Coverage: $7,7750

There is also an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000 available to people age 55+. That amount is the same regardless of whether you are on an individual or family plan.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Similar to an HSA, FSAs are an employer-sponsored savings account for eligible medical expenses. Contributions also come out of your pre-tax income. Unlike an HSA, though, FSA funds operate on a “use it or lose it” basis. You must spend down your FSA balance by the end of the year or funds are forfeited to your employer.

Another type of FSA is for dependent care. The Dependent Care FSA can be used for childcare expenses, elder care, and more.

For 2023, you can contribute up to $3,050 for a healthcare FSA and up to $5,000 for a dependent care FSA.

Commuter Savings

This is another type of savings benefit offered by certain employers. A commuter card benefit can help you save money on public transportation or parking expenses for your commute. Contributions are also made from pre-tax dollars.

Earn More Interest On Your Savings

If you’re already a good saver, you can earn more interest on your savings with a high interest savings account such as:

  • Money Market: Competitive, tiered interest rates to reward you for maintaining a higher balance.
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD): A guaranteed return without the risk of the stock market. Earn a higher rate in exchange for committing to a certain term.

Not ready to open a Money Market or commit to a CD? Start with a high-interest savings account like Kasasa Saver.

Get More Out of Your Checking Account

Don’t just let your savings account earn interest. Consider an interest-earning checking account as well. With Kasasa Cash Checking, you can earn a higher-than-average interest rate on your checking account balance.

Open A Club Account To Save For a Goal

Also known as a Christmas Club account, this type of savings account isn’t just for the holidays. You can also use a Club Account to save for a big vacation or other short-term savings goal such as a wedding, anniversary party, etc.

Learn more about the history of the Christmas Club account and what you can do now with this all-purpose club account.

Save Your Tax Refund

If you usually get a tax refund at the beginning of the year, put it (or at least half of it)  into your savings account instead of spending every last cent. The same goes for any other windfalls you have during the year such as birthday or holiday money, inheritance, work bonuses, etc.

Save More With Citizens Savings Bank!

We are a local bank that has been serving your Northeastern Pennsylvania community for over 120 years. From our CEO to your local teller, all of us at Citizens Savings Bank are committed to one thing above all else—you. Browse our personal savings account options, open a new account online, or visit one of our locations in Scranton, Mount Pocono, Taylor, Clarks Summit, and Honesdale. Ready … Set … Save!